Surface RT orders cut in half by Microsoft, Surface Pro may arrive in December
Microsoft’s Surface with Windows RT tablets aren’t selling very well. That’s what has transpired from the company’s “upstream supply chain” in Asia. Apparently, Microsoft has halved its orders for the makers of the tablets. Initially, Microsoft thought it would ship 4 million Surface tablets by the end of this year. That estimate now stands at 2 million.
Which isn’t a bad number, mind you, but it’s nowhere near the success that Microsoft wanted the Surface devices to be. After all, Apple has sold 3 million of its new tablets in one weekend.
Infamous, anonymous “sources from the upstream supply chain” now believe that Windows RT itself may be the problem, with the new operating system not performing “as expected” in the market. This is argued because apparently demand for other RT-based tablets, made by companies such as Asus, Samsung, and Dell, is also rather weak.
Furthermore, because the Surface RT isn’t going to pick up in terms of sales in the foreseeable future, Microsoft may decide to launch the Surface with Windows 8 Pro devices early – meaning by the end of this year. Those were supposed to come next year, but that may change.
Interestingly, we get a glimpse at Microsoft’s thought process here. Turns out Windows 8 Pro (that’s the ‘full’ Windows 8 version, by the way, on which you can run all sorts of ‘legacy’ apps, the same ones that run on your computers) Surface tablets aren’t on the market not because of some technical difficulties in production or something like that, but because Microsoft decided to give Windows RT a head start.
That’s a decision that may not have worked out well for the company. Many people who would like to purchase a Windows tablet may be instantly turned off by the fact that you can’t run actual Windows apps on Windows RT. So there goes one advantage of the Surface RT. The price isn’t lower than that of an iPad, so people won’t flock to these devices because of that. What’s more, the advantage that the cheapest Surface seemed to have in terms of storage (it’s being marketed as coming with 32 GB, as opposed to the identically priced iPad’s 16 GB) went away as well as soon as it was made clear that actually usable space is around 16 GB – so in line with its competition.
Why then would anyone buy a Surface RT? That’s a good question. The appeal of Microsoft’s new touch-centric interface is there in Windows 8 Pro tablets as well, and those run ‘full’ apps too. So it’s clear which tablet the enterprise customers are waiting for. As for consumers, there’s probably not too big of an incentive to stop thinking about iPads when it comes to Surface RT or other Windows RT tablets. Had they been cheaper, then another story might have been told.
As things are though, it turns out that Microsoft’s new tablet experiment has been interesting, but not particularly successful. At least so far.