Microsoft Surface sales underwhelm, at an estimated 1.5 million units

Microsoft has sold about 1.5 million Surface tablets, and about two-thirds of those are Surface RT, according to unofficial sales estimates

Microsoft's Surface RT and Surface Pro haven't made much of a dent in the tablet market, according to unofficial sales estimates.

So far, Microsoft has sold roughly 1.5 million Surface devices, Bloomberg reports, citing three unnamed sources "with knowledge of the company's sales." The split in sales is reportedly more than 1 million units for the Surface RT and about 400,000 units for the Surface Pro.

If accurate, those sales figures fall short of some analysts' estimates, and possibly Microsoft's own estimates. Microsoft had reportedly ordered 3 million Surface RT tablets, Bloomberg's sources said, and UBS analyst Brent Thrill had projected Microsoft would sell 2 million of them in the December quarter alone. Other analysts forecast lower sales, with Detwiler Fenton expecting RT sales to top out at 600,000 in the fourth quarter.

Microsoft shrugs

Microsoft has downplayed the need for strong Surface sales, and the company's own expectations don't seem as high as those of industry analysts. Last July, before the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the company "may sell a few million" Surface tablets in the product's first 12 months. Unless sales pick up from now until July, it's unlikely that Microsoft will hit that mark, but it could come close.

In any case, Microsoft has stressed that Surface is more about setting an example for PC makers than about dominating sales. "I'm super-glad we did Surface," Ballmer told MIT Technology Review last month. "I think it is important--and not just for Microsoft but for the entire Windows ecosystem--to see integrated hardware and software."

The question, then, is whether PC makers will feel compelled to play along and launch more interesting Windows 8 tablets and hybrids. It's hard to see that happening as companies like Samsung and Acer publicly voice their dissatisfaction with Windows 8 sales, and as they look to other options like Android and Chrome OS. Instead, they may be drawn by lower licensing costs, which could result in a glut of low-priced touchscreen Windows 8 devices--a far cry from the clever, high-end design of the Surface.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsofthardware systemstabletsSurface

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?