Microsoft Surface tablet sales disappointing, according to one insider

Microsoft's first attempts to break into tablet market are floundering, with the company claimed to be sitting on 1.5 million excess Surface RT tablets

15 Mar 2013
Microsoft Surface Pro

Since launching its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, Microsoft has been strangely silent on how well sales are going. New information suggests this could be because the company has only sold 1.5 million Surface devices world-wide - well below expectations.

The two tablets - one featuring an energy-efficient ARM processor and the cut-down Windows RT operating system, the other a powerful Intel chip and the full-fat version of Windows 8 - are Microsoft's first attempt at branching out into producing its own hardware outside the games console market. Its tentative steps into the tablet market have been plagued with problems, however, not least of which has been claimed poor sales of the Surface RT and a lack of Surface Pro stock at launch.

Despite the Surface Pro selling out of its initial stock allocations in the US, new industry rumours suggest that Microsoft is struggling to convince buyers to adopt its tablet devices over more famous gadgets from the like of rival Apple - rumours Microsoft has not helped quash by refusing to release sales figures for either tablet.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, somebody else appears to have done that for the company: Bloomberg News has quoted sources with "knowledge of the company's sales" as stating that just 1.5 million of the Surface devices have been sold world-wide so far, with 400,000 of those being the higher-priced Surface Pro model and the remainder the Surface RT.

While that's certainly not a total failure, it's a far cry from initial projections: Microsoft has reportedly ordered three million Surface RT devices from its manufacturer, expecting demand to be significantly higher - and confirming earlier rumours that the company has slashed its component orders by at least half as it struggles to sell the 1.5 million Surface RTs it currently has in warehouses throughout the world.

The Surface Pro, meanwhile, may have sold better had Microsoft been able to meet initial demand and release it in countries other than the US - something the company claims it is "working super hard" to resolve ahead of a planned UK launch in the coming months.

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