Microsoft Surface Sales Lower Than Expected


Microsoft has sold about 1.5 million Surface tablets so far, a slower-than-expected launch for the products, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company has sold just over one million Surface RT tablets since a November launch and about 400,000 Surface Windows 8 Pros since that version was released in February, according to Bloomberg, which cites three people who asked not to be named because sales haven't been made public.

The sources said Microsoft had ordered about three million Surface RT units.

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Microsoft has limited the sale of Surface to a restricted set of retailers so far: Best Buy, Staples and Microsoft in the United States. The products aren't available through the channel, which is frustrating to many solution providers.

A recent CRN survey found that 82 percent of respondents want to sell Surface to their customers and 75 percent believe Surface is a better product for business customers than Apple's iPad.

Solution providers also said in the survey that they are frustrated that Surface is not available for them to sell to customers.

Derek Davis, principal and managing partner at Intelli-NET, a Greenville, S.C.-based solution provider, believes Microsoft is missing the boat by marketing the Surface as an entertainment device.

"Maybe the way they should sell it is as a way to do business in the cloud," he said. "I want a tool to do as much as possible. If I could bust open a Word document and work, that would be great. But they're not playing that through the channel and it's being presented more as an entertainment device," he said.

In addition, Davis believes Microsoft is a little late to the game with Surface. "Android and iPad have been out there for a couple years now. They're just another player in the market and just not getting a lot of traction," he said.

It's not the first time a report has dampened Surface sales figures. Earlier this month, Brenand Barnicle, analyst at Pacific Crest, cut his financial forecast for Microsoft after saying he expected the company to sell 600,000 Surface devices in the current quarter, down from a previous forecast of 1.4 million units, according to Forbes. For the current fiscal year, Barnicle also cut his Surface forecast to three million units, down one million.

PUBLISHED MARCH 15, 2013