iSuppli: Microsoft Surface RT has sold 680,000 to 750,000 units

So far, Microsoft has yet to reveal any official sales or shipment numbers for the Windows RT version of the Surface tablet. Today, just a few days before the company launches the Windows 8 Pro version of the Surface, two different reports claim that shipments and sales of the Windows RT version were well below the sales of tablets from Apple, Amazon and others.

CNet.com reports that, according to iSuppli, Microsoft shipped about 1.25 million units of the Surface RT tablet in the fourth quarter of 2012. Actual sales of the tablet, however, were estimated by iSuppli to be much lower, at around 680,000 to 750,000 units. iSuppli also claims that returns of the tablet were "very high" but numbers were not revealed.

A separate report from IDC on the entire tablet industry in the last quarter doesn't even show Microsoft in the top five in the list of companies that had the most shipments of tablets. The report claims that Microsoft shipped "just shy of 900,000 units into the channel." Apple had the most tablet shipments for the quarter at 22.9 million units, followed by Samsung with 7.9 million units and Amazon with 6 million tablets.

IDC's Ryan Reith is quoted as saying that the reaction to the Surface RT tablet "was muted at best" in the last quarter. He added:

We believe that Microsoft and its partners need to quickly adjust to the market realities of smaller screens and lower prices. In the long run, consumers may grow to believe that high-end computing tablets with desktop operating systems are worth a higher premium than other tablets, but until then ASPs on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices need to come down to drive higher volumes.

Source: CNet and IDC | Image via Microsoft

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It was a small release online and in MS stores. Why are people shocked? If MS keeps pushing it to more outlets and keeps upgrading to new generations of hardware, it'll do fine. I'll get one when the next gen comes out and the current gen goes down in cost.

Why is everyone ranting about the sales numbers. MS never expected it to be high.
It also was not their goal to be a big seller of tablets. Their goal was to set an example, a new industry standard.

Microsoft has done it before, stepping into the hardware market to set an example. Its nothing new.

cant edit anymore, heh.

Besides, look at it like this. They sold 750k devices in what? 30 stores and basically just 1 country.
Apple sold allot more, but in how many stores and how many countries?

Please keep it in perspective. If it comes to # of sold devices per store. The Surface clearly wins.

Shadowzz said,
Why is everyone ranting about the sales numbers. MS never expected it to be high.

MS spend a fortune in marketing so no, MS expected it to be high. I bet that Surface RT is in red numbers.

Brony said,

MS spend a fortune in marketing so no, MS expected it to be high. I bet that Surface RT is in red numbers.

I doubt that, they're not selling anywhere near close to a loss at the price points they have set. Also, and this should be clear, any surface ad is a windows 8 ad as well. If it gets you into the store but you end up with a different device with windows 8 on it like I did then it doesn't matter to them in the long run.

Brony said,

MS spend a fortune in marketing so no, MS expected it to be high. I bet that Surface RT is in red numbers.

Every movie I've been to lately here in Canada had that dancing Surface ad before it. They're certainly saturating the media with ads.

I thought there were millions of fanboys? ;-)

I think they'll do better with "pro", of course they cut their own throat by releasing RT first, for a number of reasons. Stunning really. Of course, maybe they'll pull a Netflix and luck out with great numbers a year later despite, not because of, a stupid business decision.

Hahaiah said,
I thought there were millions of fanboys? ;-)

It's easy to be an internet cheerleader. It's hard to put your money where your mouth is.

If everyone who said they loved the Zune actually bought a Zune... it still would have failed, but I may have seen one in the wild by now.

750K ?
what happened to the other 250K?

seriously Microsoft, as embarassing the Q4 surface sales is, announce it already will ya?

Torolol said,
750K ?
what happened to the other 250K?

seriously Microsoft, as embarassing the Q4 surface sales is, announce it already will ya?

Even if the number is higher, 1-1.5million or so people will still call it bad, why? Just because it's not iPad numbers. Even the kindle fire didn't sell great but some would overlook that and other things because we're talking about MS. What was the number talked about for the kindle fire? 4million for the whole year or something?

They're in the "channel". In other words, on shelves or in warehouses, waiting to be sold.

When a company says it's "shipped" X amount of units, it doesn't mean they've sold X amount of units.

It's like what happened when HP released the TouchPad. They shipped tons of them, but they mostly sat on shelves until retailers shipped them back, leading to the fire sale. (I doubt Surface will do that bad, though.)

Sead Horvat said,
Useless and expensive. Boring GUI with almost no customization. FAIL.

Expensive? You get more from a WinRT device then from the iPad, to somewhat match the functionality that WinRT delivers OOTB, you need to pay for countless of apps for the iPad.
And the no customization part has been done on purpose.

Android can be customized allot. yet I have yet to encounter an Android in the wild that did not have its default GUI loaded (be it Androids own, or from an OEM).

And have you seen other peoples computers in the past decade or more, most XP users had a blue taskbar, green button and a grass hill. Most people don't even bother to change their background image. Let alone customize the looks of the entire OS...

But there's always people that are afraid to be 'part of the rest'.

that's true... would have been much better if was sold globally, here in china you can get it "under the table" imported, but it's so hard to find...

look, its a cave full of trolls!
i saw the surface in christmas when a family member bought it, its so sexy, the design, the slimness, and the OS looks great, so i decided to bought it, ive been using it every day to work in projects, homeowrk, presentations, it has been the best companion for studying for my finals, and every where i take it everyone just gets impressed about it, so i would says even do sales are not high its the best tablet out there, its made for work and you can have fun, they just need to continue tunning the software and apps but they always update them.

o0MattE0o said,
This is what happens when you only spend money on marketing in the USA!
not seen any Surface RT in UK?

Do you mean advertising or the actual product? There's definitely a lot of the former in the UK, particularly on TV.

erikpienk said,
look, its a cave full of trolls!
.

It seems to me a cave where a lot of "wanna be a High Priest" ready to show their opinions and label whoever, even the ones producing well articulated and, debatable as you want, but valid points are labeled as "trolls" because they have not been enlightened and do not supinely accept the truth coming down from the "Elected ones"....
Mind it, I have no problem reading and considering your opinion; it is the attempt to label the dissenting ones as trolls that undermine its value.

iSupply

Well we will be sure to take their expert research on a matter that they would have no idea about. The comments by the IDC guy are just complete waffle and it really is clear that these guys studied marketing or some other non-IT area and so really don't know what they are saying...

You sell less than 3% of your competitor's comparable product, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that is a complete disaster.

Amusing. When Neowin posts an article where iSuppli work out the cost price of components for an Apple product, everyone crawls all over it to scoff at the greed of Apple and there is absolutely no dispute about the legitimacy of their figures.

And now there's an article that puts the Surface in a negative light and what do we see.. several posts criticising the legitimacy of their figures. What a surprise.

recursive said,
You sell less than 3% of your competitor's comparable product, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that is a complete disaster.

Microsoft was never trying to sell iPad #'s though. The device was only released in a couple of countries and only sold in MS stores until recently. At best MS said they would only sell a few million Surfaces.

If MS intended to sell iPad numbers they would at minimum need international availability of the device and sell in all electronics stores, not just their own 30 MS stores. I think the comparison to the Kindle Fire is fair. This is just MS getting their feet wet.

Avatar Roku said,

Microsoft was never trying to sell iPad #'s though. The device was only released in a couple of countries and only sold in MS stores until recently. At best MS said they would only sell a few million Surfaces.

If MS intended to sell iPad numbers they would at minimum need international availability of the device and sell in all electronics stores, not just their own 30 MS stores. I think the comparison to the Kindle Fire is fair. This is just MS getting their feet wet.

Don't bring logic and common sense let alone facts into this, some people can't handle it.

Chicane-UK said,
Amusing. When Neowin posts an article where iSuppli work out the cost price of components for an Apple product, everyone crawls all over it to scoff at the greed of Apple and there is absolutely no dispute about the legitimacy of their figures.

And now there's an article that puts the Surface in a negative light and what do we see.. several posts criticising the legitimacy of their figures. What a surprise.


It's also amusing to see people desperate to see Surface/Win8 fail. It's with articles like these that people on the other side also crawl out to post -ve stuff.

GP007 said,

Don't bring logic and common sense let alone facts into this, some people can't handle it.

"Questionable marketing strategies" have nothing to do with facts. If MS had really pushed the Zune player Worldwide and full steam they would have not only able to effectively compete with the iPod but also be in a much better position to contain the iPhone success. If MS decided to offer the Surface only in few markets and through limited channels it their mistake.
I do not know what the real numbers for the Surface are but.... when numbers are not disclose you can bet that they are well below expectations and estimates.
And this is the reality for any company....

This is exactly the truth. MS has highly convoluted business strategies which were nothing but a hindrance. Of course I think the whole failure to position the Surface RT for any kind of sales success has quite a lot to do with MS not wanting to **** in their OEMs corn flakes with it. At that point they shouldn't have even released it at all if they weren't fully behind it selling as well as it could. Plus I really just think they were strategizing against last year. They completely missed the android tablets eating huge chunks of the market. Of course no one else did but that is besides the point.

Fritzly said,

"Questionable marketing strategies" have nothing to do with facts. If MS had really pushed the Zune player Worldwide and full steam they would have not only able to effectively compete with the iPod but also be in a much better position to contain the iPhone success. If MS decided to offer the Surface only in few markets and through limited channels it their mistake.
I do not know what the real numbers for the Surface are but.... when numbers are not disclose you can bet that they are well below expectations and estimates.
And this is the reality for any company....

The Zune was different altogether than the surface. First off Zune without the support of the Zune marketplace behind it is a hard sell. Not releasing it in more markets had more to do with not getting the license to sell music in those markets. I blame the labels more than anyone else when it comes to the Zune.

Second, the surface was going to have a limited release from the start, MS was clear about it long before it went to market. The point is to show the oems what to do but not step on their toes or stab them in the back in the process. The reasons to limit it's market is a clear one.

I do not know what the real numbers for the Surface are but.... when numbers are not disclose you can bet that they are well below expectations and estimates.

Microsoft's problem with disclosing Surface numbers is twofold. First, the number of Surfaces sold is really inconsequential to their strategy. If I'm in the market to buy a tablet, if I buy a Dell XPS 10 or a Surface RT, Microsoft doesn't care. They make about the same amount of profit either way, and then I'm in their ecosystem. As long I'm not buying an iPad, they're happy.

Second, it seems like no matter what the numbers are they are too low. Over the past 3 months we've seen estimates from 200k, 600k, 700k, all the way up to 1M. It's just a flat out guessing game. And every time the estimates are met with "Wow, how pathetic" because they're being compared against the market leader Apple's 22M.

All I have to say this is the same was said in 2007 of Apple's iPhone. They were in the SAME position Microsoft is in now, and only sold 6M iPhones in an entire year. They were met with criticism comparing to Microsoft selling many times that in 2007. Then Apple released new models, added functionality, increased distribution, sold to more countries (things Microsoft is currently in the process of doing) and look how things turned out. The market doesn't say the same forever, and the pendulum always swings the other way.

BajiRav said,

It's also amusing to see people desperate to see Surface/Win8 fail. It's with articles like these that people on the other side also crawl out to post -ve stuff.

But it's the same with any thread you go on - there are drooling fanboys for every product. Every time an Apple product has some public failure, there's a huge raft of people mocking them.

At the end of the day, despite Microsoft being seen as the underdog because of their limited presence in the tablet space, they're really the major players.. and the major players always get the most scrutiny. It's just the way of the world. If you're small and you make mistakes it doesn't matter - when you're a goliath like Microsoft, people are going to pick you apart. They should be big enough, resourceful enough and experienced enough to know the market well enough to just breeze in and take it by storm and that hasn't happened unfortunately.

I know I seem to spring up on a lot of these threads but honestly I really mean it when I say I have no ill will against Microsoft. I'd like Surface to succeed and the same with Windows 8 but I just don't feel they did either product justice.. but that doesn't stop me being impartial when it comes to news like this. I just get infuriated by the hypocrisy / fanboyism on display in every thread these days and feel the need to point out such things. I'm sorry if it causes offence.

Chicane-UK said,

But it's the same with any thread you go on - there are drooling fanboys for every product. Every time an Apple product has some public failure, there's a huge raft of people mocking them.

At the end of the day, despite Microsoft being seen as the underdog because of their limited presence in the tablet space, they're really the major players.. and the major players always get the most scrutiny. It's just the way of the world. If you're small and you make mistakes it doesn't matter - when you're a goliath like Microsoft, people are going to pick you apart. They should be big enough, resourceful enough and experienced enough to know the market well enough to just breeze in and take it by storm and that hasn't happened unfortunately.

I know I seem to spring up on a lot of these threads but honestly I really mean it when I say I have no ill will against Microsoft. I'd like Surface to succeed and the same with Windows 8 but I just don't feel they did either product justice.. but that doesn't stop me being impartial when it comes to news like this. I just get infuriated by the hypocrisy / fanboyism on display in every thread these days and feel the need to point out such things. I'm sorry if it causes offence.


I never cared much for the iSuppli numbers because I understand looking at raw numbers is misleading. Although it's equally bad to trust them for anything meaningful especially in this case because Surface was stocked only by Microsoft for majority of last quarter and iSuppli will not know anything for sure. All they say is pure guesstimate in this case.
Honestly, I was/am intrigued by the Surface hardware - I don't care much for the keyboard/cover thing but it's the first Windows tablet I feel like buying. I haven't yet because I am beginning to think that Microsoft has messed up the tablet part of Windows 8/RT. Their in-house apps which are critical for Surface are a big joke. The sad thing is good hardware and a good operating system is being let down by bad apps.
Mail/Calendar/People: While usable, they are a ****ing joke.
Xbox Music/Video: The entire team deserves to get fired and before they are fired - teach them how the Devices charm is supposed to work
Photos: Seriously? I can't start slideshow of nested folders?

As much as I love my 2 year old WP and the Metro interface - the Windows team ****ed everything up big time. How difficult was it for them to take the Mail client from the WP team and adapt it for the tablet/touch UI? Same with Music/Video/Photos etc.

It's been almost 3 months since launch and none of the core apps have seen critical+frequent updates. That says all.
/rant over.

GP007 said,

The Zune was different altogether than the surface. First off Zune without the support of the Zune marketplace behind it is a hard sell. Not releasing it in more markets had more to do with not getting the license to sell music in those markets. I blame the labels more than anyone else when it comes to the Zune.

Second, the surface was going to have a limited release from the start, MS was clear about it long before it went to market. The point is to show the oems what to do but not step on their toes or stab them in the back in the process. The reasons to limit it's market is a clear one.


Well, first and foremost the idea that a Zune without a marketplace would not sell is... unproven, to say the least; I do not buy music through any marketplace, I buy CDs and at the time the majority of people did it as well. Second why would it be the labels at fault for MS inability to expand in more markets? Was Steve Jobs so much better than any MS executives that he was able to achieve it? Personally I am still convinced that was killed the Zune was the inter-divisions war inside MS than anything else. Make no mistakes, if BG did not put all his weight behind the Tablet PC the project would have been killed in its infancy by the Ballmer and Sinofsky.
MS needs to answer a critical question " What do you want to be when you grow up?"
A software company or a more vertical company like Apple?
And no, producing and selling hardware, excellent ones IMO, did not make Logitech stop producing mice and keyboards for Windows.
Industries need to offer what the markets are able to receive: the economy is what it is and you cannot try to raise the cost of devices if the potential buyers are not in the position to afford them. Check as the advertising for cars has changed in the last couple of years: from highlighting features and horsepower to the nowadays mantra: fuel economy.

Fritzly said,

Well, first and foremost the idea that a Zune without a marketplace would not sell is... unproven, to say the least; I do not buy music through any marketplace, I buy CDs and at the time the majority of people did it as well. Second why would it be the labels at fault for MS inability to expand in more markets? Was Steve Jobs so much better than any MS executives that he was able to achieve it? Personally I am still convinced that was killed the Zune was the inter-divisions war inside MS than anything else. Make no mistakes, if BG did not put all his weight behind the Tablet PC the project would have been killed in its infancy by the Ballmer and Sinofsky.
MS needs to answer a critical question " What do you want to be when you grow up?"
A software company or a more vertical company like Apple?
And no, producing and selling hardware, excellent ones IMO, did not make Logitech stop producing mice and keyboards for Windows.
Industries need to offer what the markets are able to receive: the economy is what it is and you cannot try to raise the cost of devices if the potential buyers are not in the position to afford them. Check as the advertising for cars has changed in the last couple of years: from highlighting features and horsepower to the nowadays mantra: fuel economy.

While I agree that it's unproven as far as MS looked at it they didn't just want to sell the device but the service as well. That's probably the way they'd make money on it in the end I bet.

Chicane-UK said,

But it's the same with any thread you go on - there are drooling fanboys for every product. Every time an Apple product has some public failure, there's a huge raft of people mocking them.

At the end of the day, despite Microsoft being seen as the underdog because of their limited presence in the tablet space, they're really the major players.. and the major players always get the most scrutiny. It's just the way of the world. If you're small and you make mistakes it doesn't matter - when you're a goliath like Microsoft, people are going to pick you apart. They should be big enough, resourceful enough and experienced enough to know the market well enough to just breeze in and take it by storm and that hasn't happened unfortunately.

I know I seem to spring up on a lot of these threads but honestly I really mean it when I say I have no ill will against Microsoft. I'd like Surface to succeed and the same with Windows 8 but I just don't feel they did either product justice.. but that doesn't stop me being impartial when it comes to news like this. I just get infuriated by the hypocrisy / fanboyism on display in every thread these days and feel the need to point out such things. I'm sorry if it causes offence.


Yeah but lets just get this out there... Apple are ********

Chicane-UK said,

But it's the same with any thread you go on - there are drooling fanboys for every product. Every time an Apple product has some public failure, there's a huge raft of people mocking them.

At the end of the day, despite Microsoft being seen as the underdog because of their limited presence in the tablet space, they're really the major players.. and the major players always get the most scrutiny. It's just the way of the world. If you're small and you make mistakes it doesn't matter - when you're a goliath like Microsoft, people are going to pick you apart. They should be big enough, resourceful enough and experienced enough to know the market well enough to just breeze in and take it by storm and that hasn't happened unfortunately.

I know I seem to spring up on a lot of these threads but honestly I really mean it when I say I have no ill will against Microsoft. I'd like Surface to succeed and the same with Windows 8 but I just don't feel they did either product justice.. but that doesn't stop me being impartial when it comes to news like this. I just get infuriated by the hypocrisy / fanboyism on display in every thread these days and feel the need to point out such things. I'm sorry if it causes offence.


lets just get this out there... Apple are ********s, why like them?(aside from their products)

MS is trying to raise prices on pc hardware not lower it. It's all about boosting margins and thus profits. Surface Rt is a bit overpriced but not by much in my opinion. I think that they'll compete on the lower end with future 7 inch RT devices but anything at 10 inches or bigger will stay above the $400 price point, at least for now.

sadly iPad doesn't do "everything" i need. i can't do decent excel files or financial comparison with a small screen and multiple files open.

So yes, i need a Mac (or a PC). People that actually work, cannot just use an iPad...

As it is right now you might be able to do what you need on a RT, it all depends on what that is. The average price of a pc laptop/notebook, is around $420. It's clear that MS is trying to raise that. Doing so will only help the.pc market and all the oems in the end. The worst thing they did was flood the market with those cheap netbooks. Now they have to try very hard to get people out of there cheap mindset with better, more innovative hardware. Ultrabooks are the first step to this.

hin123 said,
Who even needs a Mac or PC these days when an iPad can do everything they need.

Really? Can I sync my phone with an iPad? Can I download and process photos without any dongles? Can I ZIP some files and email them from an iPad?

hin123 said,
Who even needs a Mac or PC these days when an iPad can do everything they need.
Really? Can I choose a default search engine? How about a default browser? Can I sync my phone to it? Can I sync my ipad so when i turn on my desktop it has the same stuff avail? What about Microsoft Office? Can I use any file type for media? What about storage? My media library with all music and movies is over 256GB and counting. Can I attach external storage to the iPad? Can I theme the UI on iPad? What about transferring files to and from iPad? Can I use a mouse with the iPad? Are there 1M applications available for the iPad? Can my iPad charge my phone or other device? Can iPad play DVD's, or BluRay?

So my question to u is? What exactly is this everything you claim that an iPad can do that would make it a valid replacement for my PC...beyond playing games/music/videos? Becaus eit is not a work computer, much like the Surface RT is not really a work computer. TO me the Surface RT is an iPad with Office. Its ok, but not enough. I will get the Surface Pro and yes it can replace my present desktop and laptop because...it is both of those in a single form factor and it can do everything I want and I listed above...which the iPad can't.

Youre a jokster!

@GP007 Hard to say if it's overpriced. For business use, no. RDP and Office 2013, decent Exchange Client, Lync is magnificent. Not overpriced.

For consumers, no sync middleware with desktops, horrendous Music App, Xbox Music Services shoddy, yes, overpriced.

MorganX said,
@GP007 Hard to say if it's overpriced. For business use, no. RDP and Office 2013, decent Exchange Client, Lync is magnificent. Not overpriced.

For consumers, no sync middleware with desktops, horrendous Music App, Xbox Music Services shoddy, yes, overpriced.

Yeah, I agree with you there. Once those apps get better, it's not like they can get worse, then it could be a different story.

I agree. They are sooooooooooooo biased in everything they put out. I am an actual real buyer of market research data and I wouldn't go anywhere near iSuppli(cant).

You can spot their employees a mile away. They're the ones with marks all over them from people touching them with ten foot poles.

Yep, those numbers are pathetic. If this is what Ballmer calls 'modest' the guy needs to look the word up in the dictionary. It just goes to show that without their monopoly leverage, lock-ins and strong arming tactics to tilt the playing field, no one really buys Microsoft.

On the plus side, it did do better than the Kin, so thats a start (no pun intended).

recursive said,
Yep, those numbers are pathetic. If this is what Ballmer calls 'modest' the guy needs to look the word up in the dictionary.

Ballmer said the distribution of the Surface was modest, which it absolutely was, being sold in Microsoft stores only (of which there are about a dozen) and about 10 countries. He also said he hoped to sell a few million in all of 2013. That's 2 or 3 million in a whole year. If they sold 680k in 2 months, they're well ahead of what they expected.

Apple sells iPads in hundreds of stores in almost every country in the world. It's no wonder they sold 22 million. But Microsoft is expanding production, distribution, and availability of Surface along with other OEMs and their Windows tablets. So gloat and make snide remarks about pathetic numbers all you want, but they're only going to go up.

recursive said,
Yep, those numbers are pathetic. If this is what Ballmer calls 'modest' the guy needs to look the word up in the dictionary. It just goes to show that without their monopoly leverage, lock-ins and strong arming tactics to tilt the playing field, no one really buys Microsoft.

On the plus side, it did do better than the Kin, so thats a start (no pun intended).

Actually it doesnt show that. What it does show is confusions. The RT was returned because many thought the tablet ran reguklar Windows apps. Showing people dont pre-shop before plopping down cash. Shows you how stupid consumers are.

Also shows that maybe people dont want another iPad-like tblet, that maybe they want better.

The Windows Pro version of Surface will make up for all of that.
But what you claimed is pretty way off balance.