Microsoft: Ballmer's "Modest" Surface quote meant approach, not sales

Over the weekend, a report from a French news source quoted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as saying that sales of the Surface tablet have been "modest" since its launch a few weeks ago. Today, Microsoft sent Neowin an official statement that clarifies what Ballmer stated in the interview.

Microsoft's statement said:

When asked about Surface, Steve’s use of the term “modest” was in relation to the company’s approach in ramping up supply and distribution of Surface with Windows RT, which has only been available via our online store and Microsoft retail and holiday stores in the U.S. and Canada.  While our approach has been modest, Steve notes the reception to the device has been “fantastic” which is why he also stated that “soon, it will be available in more countries and in more stores.”

As we have noted many times before, Microsoft has yet to reveal any official sales numbers for the Surface tablet, although it appears that it was a sales success for its first few days as the company was unable to keep up with the demand for a while. Hopefully Microsoft will offer up some concrete Surface tablet sales in the near future, perhaps as part of its fourth quarter 2012 financial release that should be made in January.

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surface did exactly what it was meant to do. ASUS was announcing that android was going to be installed on certain models of windows 8 devices, and after Microsoft announced the surface, ASUS completely axed these products.

people need to realize surface is a reference tablet. it is not meant to be an OEM killer. MSFT is much more interested in being the light that guides OEM innovation rather than killing it. It is similar to what google is trying to do with the nexus except the nexus is just generic hardware with plain android installed. This explains why the nexus has really not changed the way android OEMs do anything. In this regard google's approach is flawed and will not improve until they design their own hardware instead of just slapping the nexus brand on a device. Surface on the other hand is the right approach.

neonspark said,
people need to realize surface is a reference tablet. it is not meant to be an OEM killer. MSFT is much more interested in being the light that guides OEM innovation rather than killing it. It is similar to what google is trying to do with the nexus except the nexus is just generic hardware with plain android installed. This explains why the nexus has really not changed the way android OEMs do anything. In this regard google's approach is flawed and will not improve until they design their own hardware instead of just slapping the nexus brand on a device. Surface on the other hand is the right approach.

best comment i ever read about surface!!! Very clever! I think the same way (i know it now)
jejejeje

I know this has been said before but doesn't there exist at least one decent picture of this guy. I know he has an over the top persona and attitude towrds things but he is the CEO of one of the biggest and most influential companies on the planet. Can't we give he give him some respect. We always show a picture of Steve Jobs looking slightly upward as if looking into the future and he was one of the biggest jackasses that lived and yet we showed him some respect. Larry Ellison is an arrogant prick and we always get his manicured beard and designer suit head shot. Ballmer may not seem like your typical CEO and he will never be the "hip" CEO he trys to pretend to be but he does deserve some respect as someone who has really opened up Microsoft in the past ten years and helped build it into a new company for the future. After much trial and error but still worthy of some respect.

startechstudios said,
I know this has been said before but doesn't there exist at least one decent picture of this guy. I know he has an over the top persona and attitude towrds things but he is the CEO of one of the biggest and most influential companies on the planet. Can't we give he give him some respect. We always show a picture of Steve Jobs looking slightly upward as if looking into the future and he was one of the biggest jackasses that lived and yet we showed him some respect. Larry Ellison is an arrogant prick and we always get his manicured beard and designer suit head shot. Ballmer may not seem like your typical CEO and he will never be the "hip" CEO he trys to pretend to be but he does deserve some respect as someone who has really opened up Microsoft in the past ten years and helped build it into a new company for the future. After much trial and error but still worthy of some respect.

For what its worth I respect the guy. He actually made me interested in Microsoft's Metro approach. As a dissatisfied Android owner he made me buy a WP7.

After that I started looking at him in a different light. He isnt just the guy who was CEO during Vista's release (Vista started under Gates) but he's also the guy behind Windows 7, Azure and Microsoft's new approach towards the consumer market. Which turned into a huge succes with the X360 althought it also knows failures like the Zune.

But that's also something to respect. Microsoft is known for being slow if not unable to change. Yet they're taking a huge risk with their modern UI, accepting and integrating thirdparty services and slashing their own portfolio/branding. All things that are sure to decrease shortterm profit.

startechstudios said,
...

If web sites were to post unflattering pictures of Steve Jobs, a number of people would be outside with torches and pitchforks, calling for the head of the person posting the picture.

When web sites post unflattering pictures of Ballmer, then the web site is guaranteed extra page views and comments. If it were a decent picture, there are 3 comments that would not be here, and extra page views they would miss out on.

startechstudios said,
I know this has been said before but doesn't there exist at least one decent picture of this guy. I know he has an over the top persona and attitude towrds things but he is the CEO of one of the biggest and most influential companies on the planet. Can't we give he give him some respect. We always show a picture of Steve Jobs looking slightly upward as if looking into the future and he was one of the biggest jackasses that lived and yet we showed him some respect. Larry Ellison is an arrogant prick and we always get his manicured beard and designer suit head shot. Ballmer may not seem like your typical CEO and he will never be the "hip" CEO he trys to pretend to be but he does deserve some respect as someone who has really opened up Microsoft in the past ten years and helped build it into a new company for the future. After much trial and error but still worthy of some respect.

You're right. I'm surprised that even Neowin does this. It's tacky.

Ronnet said,


After that I started looking at him in a different light. He isnt just the guy who was CEO during Vista's release (Vista started under Gates) but he's also the guy behind Windows 7, Azure and Microsoft's new approach towards the consumer market. Which turned into a huge succes with the X360 althought it also knows failures like the Zune.

Just to clarify Ballmer was installed as CEO in January 2000. It was almost 2 years later that Windows XP launched (about 20 months later).

So under his leadership we have
Windows: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.
Office: Office 2003, Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2013.
Xbox: Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE.

Of the 3 core businesses all are doing well, which allows them to branch out into other areas.

Zune isn't quite the failure that everyone wants to pretend. It spawned the hardware line that actually had 4 generations of hardware. It also spawned the Zune Marketplace which has actually been successful for Microsoft, so much so that it was recently re-branded and had a shift in feature set.

Windows Phone was an entire re-launch of the strategy behind the mobile division, and it led directly in to how Windows 8 would work.

Think of the steps Microsoft made via Zune & Windows Phone as steps toward creating a unified vision. They did this very slowly.

They first introduced concepts of what would become known as Metro in Windows Media Center. They then extended that vision out to Zune. From there they started moving some of those concepts directly into the NXE dashboard version of the Xbox 360. Then they moved concepts into an update of the Windows Mobile 6 OS. It was officially listed as Windows Mobile 6.5. However this was the start of the Windows Phone brand. A lot of the later Windows Mobile 6.5 (specifically 6.5.3 and 6.5.5 devices) were branded as Windows Phone devices. This was due to a UI update that brought the main interface into line with the Zune interface. There was even a honeycomb interface for the start menu that brought up the concept of tiles.

This of course was shortly superseded by KIN and Windows Phone...both of which shared various UI concepts. The KIN was very much like a 'Windows Phone lite' variation on things, and mostly meant for the youth market.

Windows itself during this time started to take on aspects of this whole thing a piece at a time. Windows Media Center received an even more Metro UI upgrade during Vista & 7. Windows & Zune shared a common font family (Segoe - Zegoe UI) and Xbox started taking on more Metro styled traits each year.

By 2010 things were really starting to line up, another Xbox update, Windows Phone launching, 7 proceeding along nicely with the newer Superbar that took emphasis away from the older start menu concept by making the taskbar a much more personal, centralized task management system. Office even received a huge, somewhat controversial makeover.

Now we're in 2012. Windows Phone 8 is launching as a refinement of the existing UI for Windows Phone. However it is now based on the NT codebase and is more in line, as far as code, than any other prior mobile OS from Microsoft. Windows 8 has launched and is building upon the prior UI they've used in multiple other products. Xbox 360 has received another UI update, this one being very similar to both Windows Phone & Windows 8. Office has also received an update, meant to bring it in line with the appearance of the other products.

TL;DR:

Ballmer has been a busy dude for the past 12 years. His time at the company has had some projects that people do not agree with, but has also brought in some of the biggest successes to the company as well. No one is perfect, but his track record is actually pretty good.

I hope engadget picks this up and finally apologizes for feeding the cesspool that is the "self professed consumer gadget pro" we have today.

Read the other article now, and yea Ballmer is backpedaling his prior comments. You know others cannot have a different opinion around here at Neowin.

LaP said,
Apologize for what exactly ?

NeoPogo said,
Read the other article now, and yea Ballmer is backpedaling his prior comments. You know others cannot have a different opinion around here at Neowin.

Grown some brain cells. He isn't backpedaling anything. It was poorly translated from French.

NeoPogo said,
You know others cannot have a different opinion around here at Neowin.

I know what you mean. If I write I am enjoying Win8, then I don't know what I am talking about, not a power user, a Microsoft (sorry, M$) shill, etc. If I write that I like my WP7/WP8, even though I have used devices from the competition, I am called poor for not being able to buy the more expensive iPhone (even though I have had iPhones), stupid for using an "ugly" phone, don't know what I am talking about, not a power user, a Microsoft (sorry, M$) shill, etc.

And all those descriptive phrases are ones that have been told to me directly, all by the tolerant and understanding who do not like to hear my opinion because I find products work better for me than those from the Apple/Google camp.

nohone said,
....all by the tolerant and understanding who do not like to hear my opinion because I find products work better for me than those from the Apple/Google camp.

same.
Sad really.

benalvino said,
Yep... that fix it for all the haters.

Even better would be if Microsoft were to release some sale numbers.

Gungel said,

Even better would be if Microsoft were to release some sale numbers.

that will be 2000 units sold. soldout in all stores with 20 sold per store.