Do tweets show the true sales of Microsoft's Surface?

Microsoft expanded the number of placed you could buy its Windows RT-based Surface tablet to include Best Buy and Staples stores just a couple of weeks before Christmas. But was that extra push to sell Microsoft's first PC product worth it?

A new chart made by Twitter user A.X Ian shows just how many tweets were posted on Christmas Eve that were made as "first tweets" from various new tablets. The chart shows that a whopping 1,795 tweets came from a new Apple iPad, while Amazon's Kindle Fire came in second with 250 "first tweets".

Google's recent Nexus tablets were in third with 100 "first tweets" according to the chart - finally, the Surface came in a distant fourth with just 36 "first tweets" on Christmas Eve coming from the tablet.

So what does this mean? While this statistic is interesting, it may not mean anything in the long run. For one thing, Microsoft has been clear in the past that their first launch of the Surface tablet was designed to have a modest launch in terms of distribution. Therefore, the shipment numbers for the Surface were likely to be lower than those of the other tablets on the list.

As we have mentioned before, we also suspect that many people are simply waiting for Surface Pro, running on Windows 8 Pro, to be released before jumping into the Surface bandwagon. It's still scheduled to launch sometime in January.

Source: Axian | Image via Axian

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Don't expect another SOPA/PIPA blow-up in 2013

Next Story

Camping, reliability, Windows Phones and the Aussie outback

116 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The Surface sux, thats why no one tweets from it. is there even a twitter client for surface? Last time I looked in the surface app store all I could see were tumble weeds blowing across the screen.

I would say this probably is quite a strong indicator that it's not selling well. I'm lucky enough to own both an iPad mini and Surface RT but as the former is a vastly superior product in many ways, to me its easy to see why they are so much more popular. The Surface seriously does need to be about half the price they are currently asking if they want it to sell in volume.

sure you have a surface.

post a pic with your surface and ipad and with your screen name on a piece of paper,or else you are showing your true shallowness.

If only more people with a Surface tweeted! People were probably too busy doing 'real work' to tweet, thats why the surface tweet count is so low. End of story.

Actually no, maybe they were doing a lot of fun clicking with the keyboard covers and the kickstands?

TheLegendOfMart said,
Please do tell me what 'real work' you can do on a Surface RT that you can't do on an iPad?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha first of all, you can have a MOUSE, USB ports for file transfers and devices, free office 2013 and you can plug in a second screen and a PRINTER... basically making it a real computer.. oh and you also have Windows Explorer as a file manager. Try doing that on the iCrap

Edited by PmRd, Dec 27 2012, 2:03pm :

TheLegendOfMart said,
Still waiting to read what 'real work' can be done?

If you can't recognize what real work can be done maybe you should go back to playing with your toys and let the adults have a conversation here. I know for a fact that I can do real work with my Surface. I plug in a mouse and keyboard and use Visual Studio over remote desktop. And before you tell me there is remote desktop on iPad don't forget that I can use a mouse on the Surface

Again, still waiting to read what 'real work'.

Using a $500 tablet as a remote desktop client to do real work on a desktop computer doesn't count.

FYI I don't have an iPad 'toy'.

TheLegendOfMart said,
Again, still waiting to read what 'real work'.

Using a $500 tablet as a remote desktop client to do real work on a desktop computer doesn't count.

FYI I don't have an iPad 'toy'.

You have got to be kidding me. Either you are a huge troll or don't know what real work is. Being able to use remote desktop effectively to do real work is doing real work.

If for you using Office or Remote Desktop is not doing work then I'd LOVE to know what YOU consider real work is.

you can use mouse and keyboard on android so what's your point. You can connect to printers, you can connect to monitors, you don't have office in android, not because it is not possible but because Microsoft owns the rights but if the rumors are true then in the not so distant future we will have office. + office is not free they might not be charging for it directly but nothing is free.

Well I have a MS Surface live in Australia and have never tweeted.. though I do use it as a news reader. I also have an Ipad and an Iphone but tend to use the surface for web browsing whilst I watch TV.
IE is actually a pretty good browser Safari seems a bit basic for me.. I do tend to grab the Ipad to play games I also have a winphone 7 which I am waiting to upgrade but tend to use my Iphone day to day. Surface Pro will replace my RT when is becomes available I hope the battery life is half decent...

I think - pretty much know for a fact that $900USD for a Tablet is going to be the end of Surface period. just watch.

No way in the world would i pay almost $1000.00USD for a Tablet with a Keyboard cover

$499 is a Fair price and this alone will decide if Surface lives or dies.

what most of you all neowin visitors need to remember 90% of the world does not even know what a CORE i CPU even is.

That's nice, have fun in your lala land. Back down to reality however, people may not know what a "core i CPU" is but they know Microsoft Office, being able to run desktop applications (the biggest selection of applications available in the world), having access to an operating system engineered over decades, an OS that works with all their hardware (mice, keyboards, gamepads, printers, heck even microcontroller interfaces), USB3.0/SD/DisplayPort sockets are all awesome things that they want. Give me a tablet that can do all of those things (and believe me their are many more advantages into buying a Surface Pro or any other windows 8 tab) and I will happily buy it.

Yeah that's what I though.
Typed on my touch cover.

love the Surface. Best purchase this year. A tablet I can actually use at home and at work. OneNote is the most underrated software out there. Perfect companion in the lab (taking notes, drawing schematics, linking any file with your newly created input....). Writing papers in MSO2013 and giving presentations without any formatting headaches. Battery life is more than enough for me and I wasn't able to drain the battery enough to recharge before the end of the day. Handwriting recognition is surprisingly good out of the box. It also recognizes my Common Access Card reader to access my Exchange email.

Squashing that, I'd rather buy a Surface rather than an iPad, here's why:

1. I can move, copy files through the computer's Hard Drive and or Memory Units without Jailbreaking need.

2. Has Office 2013 Built in.

3. Windows Update... I can get an updated software for years to come (As Far As I'm Implying)

4. I don't need iTunes to manipulate my music library: I can download music directly from the Internet and put it on my device (No Jailbreak needed). As well as videos.

5. Can have multiple users on the device.

---There are many more, but will only imply for the Pro version---

you can do all that with android too and with android apps can actually talk to each other unlike WinRT where they are sandboxed, you can also have multitasking, apps that you create even if google don't approve without having to pay to be a registered developer + you don't have to pay more for the same apps that you would otherwise pay less because apps in the WinRT store are more expensive.

as for the updates I'll believe it when I see it.
Windows mobile 6.5 we will continue to support it for a long time yeah right
Kin = something like 2 months lol
Windows phone 7 "2 years" there are rumors already that 7.8 is the last update go figure.
windows phone 8 = WinRT ???

WinRT ҂ Windows 8 they are not the same updates.

Surface Pro = Windows 8
Surface = WinRT

They might have the some of the same but they are different.

argg, you are such a noob... Not even going to bother refuting the other stupid crap but I see it as my duty to inform you that WinRT is not an Operating System... do a bit of research on Wikipedia before you stat commenting on a tech site.

ingramator said,
argg, you are such a noob... Not even going to bother refuting the other stupid crap but I see it as my duty to inform you that WinRT is not an Operating System... do a bit of research on Wikipedia before you stat commenting on a tech site.

Exactly. It also irritates me when people call it Windows 8 RT, it isn't. It's called Windows RT not WinRT or Windows 8 RT.

Edited by neo158, Dec 27 2012, 4:29pm :

whatever you want to call it you know what I'm talking about if you want to play like if you don't be my guess but you do not get the same updates that was my point.

and please just because you don't agree don't say "stupid crap" what i said is true
microsoft dumped windows mobile then dumped kin then dumped windows phone 7 and we still don't know the future of win 8 exactly how is that "stupid crap" like you said

Hmmm ...received my Surface RT on the day it was launched, but I never twitted from it, or maybe because there isn't an official twitter app for Windows 8.

My mother actually just got a surface (yes, jealous) and it is a truly remarkable piece of hardware and software engineering. She sure as anything didn't tweet about it.

I think this is more a reflection of what type of people buy iProducts...
(I'm not sure if I'm having a go at Apple, or Twitter, with that statement...)

Edit: No WinRT isn't perfect, but if someone tries to tell me any OS is, I'll throw a shoe at them.

You can do real work on a Surface RT? WHy because it has Office? It's not even in the same league as the iPad which I find to be very useful.

The Nexus tablet only has 100 first tweets, and the Kindle only has 250, compared to the iPad's 1795.

According to this, Nexus and Kindle tablets are complete failures as well.

Surface users are doing real work on the Surface, so they are busy, while iPad users are sitting free with their useless device so they don't have anything else to do other than tweet

Filed under, "things I tell myself before I go to sleep at night," or "things that I saw mentioned a lot before the first iPad came out, and I still repeat it because I'm stuck in January of 2010."

You can be productive on both the Surface and iPad. I mean, we live in a universe with an infinite amount of variables, so it's highly possible to be productive on both. If you don't believe me, you can look around the Internet to see many examples of people doing more than just tweeting from their iPad.

you really can't do any real work on the surface that you can't already do in Android and Ipad, "WinRT=iOS=Android" the only different one is surface pro that "is not for sale right now" which is using Windows 8. Windows 8 ҂ WinRT, iOS, Android.

Superboy said,
you really can't do any real work on the surface that you can't already do in Android and Ipad, "WinRT=iOS=Android" the only different one is surface pro that "is not for sale right now" which is using Windows 8. Windows 8 ҂ WinRT, iOS, Android.

Really, I mean REALLY. You want to put Windows RT in the same category as Android and iOS. Tell me then, what would you rather use in a workplace for documents. Microsoft Office, Apple iWork or any one of the hundreds of Office Suites on Android.

I know which one I would choose!!!

I would imagine it's because the Surface uses more or less a desktop OS, even if it's compiled for ARM, so it is used more for productivity, whereas the iPad is a glorified phone. Besides, I don't think the official Twitter app is even out for Win 8/RT yet (though I could be wrong; I don't care so I don't check for it).

Or maybe it's because Surface users are far to busy being productive, rather than sitting in Starbucks all day tweeting about what coffee they're drinking and what muffin they're eating. Or maybe us Surface owners just don't give a f*** about twitter!!!!

neo158 said,
Or maybe it's because Surface users are far to busy being productive, rather than sitting in Starbucks all day tweeting about what coffee they're drinking and what muffin they're eating. Or maybe us Surface owners just don't give a f*** about twitter!!!!

+1

I think that is the people Microsoft is aiming at if not why make the surface and windows 8 a social OS why integrate it with Skype, Facebook, Tweeter on the people tile if not for people that want to share. As for being productive what you can do in the surface you can do it better in Android and the Ipad, the only one that could be used for more productive stuff is surface pro but that is not for sale yet.

Superboy said,
I think that is the people Microsoft is aiming at if not why make the surface and windows 8 a social OS why integrate it with Skype, Facebook, Tweeter on the people tile if not for people that want to share. As for being productive what you can do in the surface you can do it better in Android and the Ipad, the only one that could be used for more productive stuff is surface pro but that is not for sale yet.

There are three things wrong in your comment:

1. Skype is still a separate app. It's not integrated into the OS.
2. Why do you think Facebook and Twitter integration is buried in the People app? It's because Social Networking is not the primary function of Surface.
3. Surface Pro is aimed at business users and as such needs to be able to run desktop applications, remember though that Surface Pro doesn't have Office pre-installed. You can be just as productive with Windows RT using the pre-installed version of Microsoft Office 2013, something the iPad and Android tablets don't have.

2. Why do you think Facebook and Twitter integration is buried in the People app? It's because Social Networking is not the primary function of Surface.

then why in all the commercials I have seen I see moms, kids drawing and using skype to see his dad, people dancing and playing with the type cover. Anyways in any of the commercials I have seen they have never shown anyone doing actual work it's all games, chat, Skype, draw, watching videos, taking pictures, listening to music, checking the weather, etc... everything but actual work.

Some people are short sighted. Surface was created to get oems into pulling their collective heads out of their asses. Microsoft even commented that they were making a small quantity initially and selling them in limited distribution. When oems couldn't even get any tablets on the shelves ,Microsoft made a move and put surface in retail,as a sign of this is what we can do if you dont pick it up.

The surface doesn't need to sell right now. Its irrelevant right now,even for Microsoft. What needs to sell is Windows 8 ,which means a great software library because the devs go where the users are. Fanboism doesn't even make a dent. Its about user base. That is when surface will be important.

Microsoft already has a massive use base,bigger than anything out there. They are leveraging this to kick up windows 8. When it is all said and done,what you have on the desktop software wise,will happen to metro. Its just a matter of time.

This sample suggests a lot of overlap between people who tweet and people who buy iPads.

Not much else.

Not really, no. The title could also be "surface users most likely to do something productive with their time"... or, "iPad users most likely to use twitter"... or, "People who own iPads most vain, think other people actually care that they own an iPad", etc.

I don't think it's fair to compare the number of tweets coming from tablets when the Surface is the only tablet that doesn't have an official Twitter app.

It does have the ability to send tweets natively using the people app though, assuming you have linked twitter to your Microsoft Account. But I agree, going into "People" to send a tweet isn't going to come naturally to most. So I think this kind of explains why the number of people tweeting on the first day is low.

PmRd said,
People who buy Surface are not attention seeking kids

+1 tbh and for the record I own an iPad. Apple have become a symbol of money rather than quality although tbh the iPod,iPhone and iPad are all amazing products. Anyway I agree that a lot of these tweeters are probably up their own arse.

I think it's because of the demographics involved- a lot of the teen swag sensation isn't intelligent enough to see anything other than the iPad as a viable tablet, and they're also the ones getting iPads from their horrible unswaglike parents who don't know about the Surface. Meanwhile, the Surface users are using more (by more I mean slightly) personal methods of showing their new gifts to other people, like in-person, Facebook (posting to a wall is slightly better than just broadcasting to the world) or... dancing in public parks, snapping that nifty Touch Cover to their Surface over and over while tapdancing.

Well it does give an insight into the sales, but the main info is more about demographics.

We have people who use twitter + bought a device, People who bought a device and people who bought a device but don't use twitter.

It shows you that people who bought ipads and use twitter really wanted to tell the world what they got (quite sad really, meaningless post!) Yet the people who bought the surface either down use twitter, or if they do, the majority doesn't give two hoots about saying "sent from my surface" or "First f*** tweet from my surface"

Interesting look at things but I don't think is says as much about sales as it does about user habits

I mean it makes sense that surface will sell less than any of these tablets. Surface has far less distribution than iPad and Kindle, has only 2 versions compared to the multitude of iPads, has been out for less time than any of them... I don't understand why everyone is obsessing over the sales of this single tablet, and concluding that they're lower than the others means it's a flop. I think any other result would be completely newsworthy.

It's worth noting a couple things about this particular "study." The sample is users who speak english, celebrate christmas, and also use Twitter, and also used a very specific phrase in a tweet.

Perhaps Surface did come in last place and perhaps Microsoft did sell 1% of what Apple sold. That seems perfectly reasonable to me. But to suggest that this very specific segement of users is representative at all of the general population seems very silly. To draw any sort of conclusion from this data is the exact wrong way to use statistics.

Toysoldier said,

You should get out more often

Dealing with over 200 people on a daily basis at an office plus talking to people all over Australia in every state regarding their equipment is enough of "getting out more often".

I have one, but I haven't seen many consumer types with one. Actually, I haven't seen any. iPads. But we purchased most of our IT department one.

HoochieMamma said,

Dealing with over 200 people on a daily basis at an office plus talking to people all over Australia in every state regarding their equipment is enough of "getting out more often".

Is Surface even on sale in Australia?

HoochieMamma said,

Dealing with over 200 people on a daily basis at an office plus talking to people all over Australia in every state regarding their equipment is enough of "getting out more often".

Well you should have mentioned that your job was monitoring purchase and distribution of tablets in Australia, then your anecdotal observations would have been relevant.

HoochieMamma said,
I have yet to see a single person who has a Surface.

Personal observations are often not aligned with reality. So it shouldn't be used as proof one way or the other.

I'm a web developer and hang around techies. Seen a few (at Microsoft .NET user groups, etc) but for the most part it's iPads and Nexuses or Kindles that I see people with at coffee shops and such. I have seen one person with a Surface so far at a Panera Breads (Orlando, FL). But that's just by passing people by, I don't necessarily stalk people to see what tablets they use.

36 tweets seems about right, I honestly don't know why anyone would buy a surface over an ipad or nexus 7, when you figure in the cost/performance between them the nexus and ipad are way ahead of the surface not to mention horrid battery life and huge OS footprint on the surface.

Where are you pulling this information from? Your nether regions? The 32GB surface still has more usable space than the price-equivilent iPad (20GB vs 14GB or so). Also, my surface gets close to 10hrs battery life easily. 8hours if I'm using it hard.

The 3-4 reviews I have read about the surface claim battery life is really bad and the OS takes a lot of space, I really would like to check one out in person, I am not biased against a surface at all, just that the reviews I have read were saying it sucks basically.

My battery lasts all day with heavy use (8 am to 9 pm), can go 2 or 3 days without charging if I only use it occasionally.
It has 20 GB of free space. It's a fantastic tablet.

Order_66 said,
The 3-4 reviews I have read about the surface claim battery life is really bad and the OS takes a lot of space, I really would like to check one out in person, I am not biased against a surface at all, just that the reviews I have read were saying it sucks basically.

I really want to read that review you are talking about.. I am yet to hear anyone complain about the battery life. It has 8 to 9 hours of battery life .. compared to iPads 9 to 10.. According to the review from Engadget and TheVerge the battery life difference between those two devices are less than an hour.

Of all Surface's complaints battery has never been part of it. Complaints are are usually about aspect ratio, app selection, size of the OS, screen resolution and the existence of the desktop.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/1...50/microsoft-surface-review

http://www.engadget.com/2012/1...icrosoft-surface-rt-review/

http://www.tomshardware.com/re...s-rt-battery-life,3346.html

http://www.techradar.com/revie...ft-surface-1085839/review/7

All of the above have nothing to say but positive things about battery life. Can you please point us to the reviews you read that say otherwise? I'd be interested to figure out the discrepancy.

As for the OS footprint, Windows + Apps + Office take up 8GB, or 27% of the formatted space. You're left with plenty, and there is an expansion slot for cheap storage upgrades. You can get 32 more GB for just $20 if you want.

Don't mind Order, despite his statements to the contrary, he's a well known Windows 8/RT sceptic on this site. It's hardly surprising he has a negative outlook on the MS Surface.

dtboos said,
Where are you pulling this information from? Your nether regions? The 32GB surface still has more usable space than the price-equivilent iPad (20GB vs 14GB or so). Also, my surface gets close to 10hrs battery life easily. 8hours if I'm using it hard.

You need to cite a source. I find it hard to believe that the iPad uses 14GB of space for the OS seeing as how there is a 16GB iPad on sale.

My 32GB iPad has about 24GB free and that is with apps installed...

sorry, but those reviews claiming poor battery life are just plain inaccurate.
mine runs pretty much all day with good use on all fronts.

LogicalApex said,

You need to cite a source. I find it hard to believe that the iPad uses 14GB of space for the OS seeing as how there is a 16GB iPad on sale.

My 32GB iPad has about 24GB free and that is with apps installed...


I believe he is referring to the fact that a 32gb surface is "price equivalent" to a 16gb ipad ($499).

Order_66 said,
huge OS footprint on the surface.

WinRT is much larger than other tabet OSes, but people are lumping office in with the size of the os as well, which doesn't seem fair.

LogicalApex said,

You need to cite a source. I find it hard to believe that the iPad uses 14GB of space for the OS seeing as how there is a 16GB iPad on sale.

My 32GB iPad has about 24GB free and that is with apps installed...

A $499 iPad has only 14GB of free space.
A $499 Surface has around 18-20GB of free space.

Microsoft probably shouldn't be marketing the Surface as a 32GB device if only 18 GB of that 32 GB is usable for user storage purposes.

LogicalApex said,

You need to cite a source. I find it hard to believe that the iPad uses 14GB of space for the OS seeing as how there is a 16GB iPad on sale.

My 32GB iPad has about 24GB free and that is with apps installed...

I was referring to the price equivalent, or $499 iPad which is the 16GB version and has 13-14GB free. The 32GB surface is the same price, and you have 20GB. So not sure why people complain about it when its priced very competitively.

You can't just compare the free storage when it comes to price. The iPad has a screen resolution of 2048x1536 and gives access to hundreds of thousands of apps ... The Surface has a screen resolution of 1366x768 and access to a fraction of the number of apps. How do you put those aspects into "price equivalent" analysis?

AlexMagik said,
i think you got mixed up. ipad 16G has 14+G free. ipad 32 has 30+G free

Don't think that's completely true, my 64gb iPad 3, say it has a 57gb capacity, which tells me that the essentials take a least 7gb. So logic would suggest the the 32 and 16 gb versions probably also use about 7 gb for essentials. So it's doesn't seem logical that your 16 and 32gb models would have 14 and 30 respectively. go to settings and about and see what it says your capacities are.

Well, 64GB is actually only 62.5GB, because they use 1000MB=1GB for marketing purposes. So it might be using 5GB, not 7GB.

Actually Ryster I am not against RT devices at all and wouldn't mind owning a surface, I don't remember exactly where I read the reviews but even if I did remember I wouldn't bother citing anything since every link will be attacked and accused of being biased against microsoft products.

Actually i wouldn't mind either...
if only they had 3G model. and if i could find someone to sell my iPad3 (with 3g) with 64G to someone

I think Surface Pro is perfect, but battery only 4 hours? Sorry but Microsoft have to released keyboard with extra battery for me. Only then buy Pro version.

Surface pro has a full Core i5 Processor. I'll take 4 hours of that over any number of hours of ARM because with that i5, I can run the apps that I need to get the job done.

While that's true, don't expect anything even close to the RT version, especially when you start installing any classic desktop applications.

As soon as you get an errant service, any battery life guarantee will go out the window.

There has been some speculation on whether or not Microsoft will open the desktop to unsigned desktop applications. For the sake of battery alone, I hope not.

if you read reviews of other x86 windows 8 notebooks, their battery life is worse than their Windows 7. Granted they are not using the new Intel cores.

We'll have to take a wait and see approach there.

ModernMech said,
Surface pro has a full Core i5 Processor. I'll take 4 hours of that over any number of hours of ARM because with that i5, I can run the apps that I need to get the job done.

What type of job are you trying to do on such a small TABLET screen that you need a Quad core i5 ? and a TOUCH screen at that ?

lol no. I know a lot of people that got it this year and they (I included) were too busy with the holidays to tell a bunch of strangers on twitter what we got lol

Exactly, no one cares what you are eating for dinner or tweeting from, they were all probably too busy actually doing productive things from the Surface.

Of course, hence the <2K number for the iPad even though we can be sure Apple sold more than 2K iPads for Christmas. The question really is does Twitter provide sufficient data to extrapolate an idea of sales and market share from tweets of this nature. I don't think it is.

xendrome said,
Exactly, no one cares what you are eating for dinner or tweeting from, they were all probably too busy actually doing productive things from the Surface.

Doing productive things? on Christmas day? Really?

Tweets are definitely a bad way to measure this kind of thing (even given Windows' low share in the tablet space, <2% of holiday sales is too low), but I'd wager that, percentages aside, the order is correct.

The iPad is the "go-to" tablet, and it will be for a time yet (it took Samsung Galaxy, what, 5 years to top the iPhone in sales?). The Kindle is very highly promoted on Amazon, and the Nexus 7 is cheap as chips. Contrast that with the Surface which is basically impossible to get hold of outside of the US or the Microsoft store, and I could believe that sales wouldn't be as high as the others.

But still, <2% is too low. If it is true though, Microsoft have a real image problem.

Colin McGregor said,
lol no. I know a lot of people that got it this year and they (I included) were too busy with the holidays to tell a bunch of strangers on twitter what we got lol
Exactly. So, a récent study shows (in France) people rathers SMS over social networks for Christmas or newyear messages, for 60%. So again on the 40% left, I'm sure Facebook is for a lot, and Twitter a little.
Conclusion this comparative Just shows how it could be stupid to build an entire analyse (and future conclusion or end for Surface and/or Microsoft) from it.

LOL! There are 19 ppl laughing at everyone who replied to this comment, thinking xendrome was serious:

xendrome said,
Exactly, no one cares what you are eating for dinner or tweeting from, they were all probably too busy actually doing productive things from the Surface.

Yea, like trying to figure out how to snap 2 apps on the same screen...

xendrome said,
they were all probably too busy actually doing productive things from the Surface.