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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsofttabletshardware systemsSurface

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?