Microsoft shipped 900,000 Surfaces in Q1 2013, according to IDC

Microsoft hasn't shared the actual sales numbers for the Surface tablets, leaving research firms to speculate. Strategy Analytics speculates that 3 million "Windows tablets" were shipped in Q1 2013, while Bloomberg claims that Microsoft sold only 1.5 million Surface tablets - 1.1 million Surface RTs and 400,000 Surface Pros - since their release in 2012.

IDC has just released their estimates for Q1 2013, pegging Surface sales at just 900,000, most of which are Surface Pros. Microsoft entered into the top five tablet vendors, alongside Apple, Samsung, ASUS (who makes the Nexus 7) and Amazon during the last quarter. Overall, Microsoft accounted for 1.8% of Q1 tablet sales, a drop in the ocean compared to Apple and Samsung's combined share of 58%. 

Year-over-year, Apple has grown by a solid 63% with 19.5 million shipments, while Samsung has surged by 283% with 8.8 million shipments, up from 2.3 million in the same quarter last year. If IDC's numbers are correct, it means Microsoft is shipping 300,000 Surfaces per month or 10,000 per day. For contrast, Apple is shipping roughly 6.5 million iPads per month (216,000 per day). It is important to note that the iPad is an established brand while the Surface is still growing. 

Windows RT accounted for just 0.4% of all Q1 2013 tablet shipments, while Windows was up 700% year-over-year to 3%. For the first time, Android surpassed iOS shipments with 27.8 million compared to 19.5 million; total year-over-year growth sits at 142% for the whole tablet industry. 

Source: IDC

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The Surface RT is a waste of time and money. Even though I would prefer the RT over an iPad, if you already own an iPad, the RT would be like a downgrade on some level. iPad has the benefit of having better apps, I could care less about who has the most. The display on the iPad is also better in some respect. Both have nice build quality.

The Surface Pro however is a beast and the iPad is a toy in comparison. Full Windows, full use of all my present PC accessories and applications. The price isn't to bad.

But there are even better offerings coming. The latest item coming from Toshiba looks promising - the WT310.

Looking at all the semi-positive news about (Surface) tablets sales, it will become more interesting now more countries will going to sell them.

Very currious how all this will be at the end of this year. Personally I see a shift away from iPads, and Google and W8 tablets ramping up sales.

TsarNikky, let me ask you something - have you used ANY tablet? Notice I did NOT say bought - but merely USED a tablet (even if just a display model in a retailer)? You are harsh on any sort of Windows tablet - not merely the RT versions, but even Surface Pro (which is basically a full-fledged notebook with detachable keyboard). Where I'm curious is WHY you are so harsh.

Least we forget that compared to Apple, this is Microsoft 1st foray into PC hardware. Sure they have made and distributed the Xbox for years but sales strategy is different. I'm sure the numbers for both the Pro & RT could be significantly higher if they opened distribution to more countries and made it available to all retail venues and online (including Amazon, Newegg, TigerDirect).
A lot of people who asked me about the cheaper Surface (meaning Surface RT) have either bought another Win8 tablet, laptop, or desktop but they seem to be using IE10 Metro mostly and their kids are playing a lot of Windows Store games. Not all is lost with MS strategy of combining Metro with the old Windows Desktop..

I have a windows 8 notebook but i am not used metro at all.

Right now, to buy a Windows RT only device is not bad, it is plain stupid.

That should changing a few months time as Windows Blue gets released and more apps make it into the Windows Store.

JHBrown said,
.............and many still sit on stores shelves."

Forgot to add that part.

Many more Android/iPads tabs stay on shelves as well...

Haven't seen any sitting on the shelves here in China. Of course, there might actually be some but they'll be hidden from sight by the massive stacks of unsold iPads.

Few people in China now buy Apple. Remember China is a bigger market than America and Europe combined. If you like you can throw in South America too.

Max, go write articles for Gizmodo. They are more suited to your biased writing style.

Apple fanbois always have terrible articles, and useless facts

When the Microsoft fans don't like the numbers, they always cry foul! ^

Who said we don't like the numbers?

For a device that was originally just to show OEMs what they can do, and only being sold in 4 countries(?) of which most were the $999 PC, 3% of the market is pretty good.

Is it better than the iPad or Android? Well no they sell vastly more, but that doesn't suddenly make it a **** product.

JHBrown said,
When the Microsoft fans don't like the numbers, they always cry foul! ^

And when the Apple fans don't like the numbers, they just say to themselves "well, it is OK, we are sure they tried their hardest and we will just need to try harder next time"? No, they whine and complain, have a pity-party, claim the web site is spreading hate, and then make up some "fact" about Microsoft (like comparing the number of all iOS devices sold compared to the number of Surfaces sold) to make themselves feel better about supporting Apple. The proof of this is the Samsung vs Apple article from earlier today.

Edited by SoylentG, May 1 2013, 11:44pm :

Max Slater-Robbins? Aren't you the self proclaimed devout Apple fanboy who claimed "Try editing a video on the Pro, or a MP3. No luck, I'm afraid." and when called on this obviously embarrassing statement, dug himself into a deeper and deeper ditch?

http://www.neowin.net/news/mic...y-be-saying#comment-2151521

Oh yeah, that's you. Why are you reporting on *anything* having to do with Surface? You obviously have no idea what it is.

They're launching world-wide due to poor sales in USA, probably. I just bought a Surface Pro a few days ago and while extremely expensive for what you get, it's a damn cool little machine and Microsoft's first computer. It's a collector's item.

Bull. They're launching worldwide because they can now ramp up production. Components are still scarce and Microsoft are still new to the manufacturing game. They're selling them as fast as they can make them, not the other way around.

Low end Surface would have sold much better if they had made it a (fanless) Atom based model and put Wacom in.

Pluto is a Planet said,
I don't think the fanless Atom is out yet.

Pretty much all Windows 8 ATOM tablets are fanless such as the Acer W510.

More shipped estimates huh. Alrightly then...

Don't see why MS doesnt release their own, actual, numbers.

Edited by techbeck, May 1 2013, 8:39pm :

Because they're probably not awesome. They may in the future when the Surface is selling better and has had more of a chance to embed into the market.

Because no matter what Microsoft releases, if it's not higher than Apple's numbers they'll get flogged by the media. You can see that happening in this very article; surface is sold in a handful of countries, and competes with not just Apple and Android tablets, but other Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets.

"Because they're probably not awesome."

Obviously you've never actually worked in the computer or consumer electronics businesses. It has FAR more to do with negotiating and obtaining optimum component pricing from OEMs and ODMs in Shenzhen and Taipei than keeping irrelevant talking shops happy.

I don't like how places keep acting like Surface is the only windows tablet out there...

To me Surface is a reference design for other OEMS to copy and modify, MS just happened to sell it to the public this time around...

I don't know how many times I've heard "Surface isn't outselling the iPad"... well that's nice and all, but what about all windows 8 tablets aggregated? there is a whole one iPad OS (iOS) to compare to, and one Windows 8 OS (ARM and x86 are still the same OS as a brand) to compare to..

MorganX said,
x86 tablets are not comparable to iPad IMO. They are PCs, laptop replacements primarily running desktop software.

I can play this game, by your logic the Ipad is just a glorified big screen phone and the surface / windows 8 devices are the only real computer tablets.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... IDC, along with the rest of the analyst douche bags out there, need to STFU and start providing SALES numbers, and not SHIPMENT numbers! Numbers of shipped units don't mean ****, as there's no way to tell how many actually got SOLD vs how many are sitting in warehouses collecting dust!

This is just more of the same fear mongering geared towards investors by the brokerage houses to manipulate stock on Wall Street in favour of the "banker", it's getting ridiculous!

-=MagMan=- said,
I've said it before, and I'll say it again... IDC, along with the rest of the analyst douche bags out there, need to STFU and start providing SALES numbers, and not SHIPMENT numbers! Numbers of shipped units don't mean ****, as there's no way to tell how many actually got SOLD vs how many are sitting in warehouses collecting dust!

This is just more of the same fear mongering geared towards investors by the brokerage houses to manipulate stock on Wall Street in favour of the "banker", it's getting ridiculous!

I agree that sales numbers would be better than shipped numbers but we can still get a good indication of what's going on. If the shipped numbers go lower and lower then they aren't selling, if they stay more or less constant or grow then they are selling, it's that simple even if not as accurate as you want.

I think they would do a lot better when both devices were as readily available as the iPad or all those other Android tablets.

But they can only blame themselves for that off course. Hopefully they rectify this problem in the next few quarters

For something new, priced a bit high, and not sold everywhere I'd say that's pretty good for a first generation device.

These figures would be much higher if the Surface Pro was actually available outside of USA, Canada or China.

Edited by Gaffney, May 1 2013, 7:28pm :

Gaffney said,
These figures would be much higher if the Surface Pro was actually available outside of USA, Canada or China.

It will be later this month, I suppose they just didn't make as many to start to play it safe. Or they had supply issues on parts?

Gaffney said,
I'm sure it's because Microsoft expected the Surface RT to be the bigger seller.

Seeing how it's price for less I'd think many would expect it to sell more than the, in many peoples minds, expensive Pro.

Gaffney said,
These figures would be much higher if the Surface Pro was actually available outside of USA, Canada or China.

I didn't realise it wasn't. It strikes me as a terrible strategy to significantly delay the launch in major territories, though give Microsoft's terrible sales strategy with the Zune I can't say I'm surprised.

I didn't realise it wasn't. It strikes me as a terrible strategy to significantly delay the launch in major territories, though give Microsoft's terrible sales strategy with the Zune I can't say I'm surprised.

Could be possibly to do with support?

Microsoft doesn't have a retail presence in a lot of countries, and virtually no service centers either. What if something went wrong with your surface pro? MS would have to ship it all the way back to the US, get it checked out, fix it, ship it back etc and that's pretty much unacceptable.

If I had to guess they're probably working out contracts to get authorized service centers set up and not doing it out of spite or out of stupidity.

Greetings from Beijing. FYI: Surfaces are only available at one single outlet in China, Suning. Staff have still not been trained how to sell them. Moreover, Surface Pro didn't go on sale here until first week in March, which means it only hade about 21 days of sales in China.

The ability of Surface Pro to recognise Chinese handwriting is the killer app many here have been waiting for. However, with limited distribution they're still difficult to find or have demonstrated. Eventually Surface will massively outsell iPad in China. Apple has again shot itself in the foot by yet again refusing to support Chinese users - just like iPhone (RIP).

coderchi said,
not if you account the apple fanbois that would buy anything apple sells even if it's crap.

The same could be said of a fanboi, just Apple has a lot more mainstream ones.

maxslaterrobins said,
Still more per day, and the market was very skeptical towards tablets in 2010.

When Apple has a crap selling product, they just proclaim it to be a "hobby" or quietly remove it from the website and the Apple devotees act like it was no big deal and forget all about it. The fact is, that Microsoft sold 0.9 million Surfaces in one quarter. Apple sold 3.9 million Macs in one quarter, across 21 different models. And of course, Apple does not break down the number of each model sold, so using your standard below, Apple's sales of Macs are "probably not awesome."

Also, let's not forget the only reason that Apple has any Mac sales - to support the iOS ecosystem. If they didn't have iOS, then they would have no Mac sales since developers need to buy a Mac, and upgrade often because of Apple's planned obsolescence of their hardware and software.

"they just proclaim it a "hobby" or quietly remove it"

Except the Apple TV is selling far better than the Surface, with 5.6 million unit sales in 2012. I don't think that is a "crap selling product." Apple TV can be a hobby while Apple focus elsewhere, like smartphones and tablets. Surface is not a hobby because if it doesn't fly, Microsoft will essentially be locked out of the tablet game, like they're locked out of the smartphone game.

The Mac series is obviously not aimed at the mass market as the cheapest model is $999. Also, the sales drop is indicative of the entire PC market. How're Dell and HP doing at the moment?

Your claim that Apple only produce Mac is to "support the iOS ecosystem" is equally floored. The Mac is used in almost all creative industries and in the development business. You realise, I hope, that there are not 3.9 million developers buying Macs every quarter, mainly because there are not 3.9 million Apple developers and they certainly don't update their systems every three months.

SoylentG said,
Also, let's not forget the only reason that Apple has any Mac sales - to support the iOS ecosystem. If they didn't have iOS, then they would have no Mac sales since developers need to buy a Mac, and upgrade often because of Apple's planned obsolescence of their hardware and software.

What? XD Up until recently Apple had been outgrowing the PC market before the iPad took off.

maxslaterrobins said,

Except the Apple TV is selling far better than the Surface, with 5.6 million unit sales in 2012. I don't think that is a "crap selling product."

I love it. First you're comparing total yearly sales to quarterly sales. At 5.6m per year, Apple TV is selling 1.4m per quarter. How exactly is that "far better" than Surface's 900,000 per quarter?

Second, you realize that in 2012, Apple TV had been on the market for *5 years*. This is a product Apple has had plenty of time to market and get into distribution channels, and yet it manages only 5.6 million per year? You think that's good?

Surface is selling ~1 million per quarter despite being released just this fall, despite limited availability, and despite competing againt other similar Windows 8 tablets. It's further selling at this rate despite being 5x to 10x more expensive!

This is just the next in your long line of laughably embarrassing gaffs.

SoylentG said,

When Apple has a crap selling product, they just proclaim it to be a "hobby" or quietly remove it from the website and the Apple devotees act like it was no big deal and forget all about it. The fact is, that Microsoft sold 0.9 million Surfaces in one quarter. Apple sold 3.9 million Macs in one quarter, across 21 different models. And of course, Apple does not break down the number of each model sold, so using your standard below, Apple's sales of Macs are "probably not awesome."

Mac sales have always such. In Apple 28th year of making them, they sold a measly 128M. It took 28 years to sell as many Macs as the Windows PC's sold in a single year which was over 200M. Yet Apple still try's to pawn them off on everyone. Because a few loyalists still buy them....oh and yes education buys a few too.

At one point, Apple was only selling 1.5M Macs per quarter. They had an uptick when the Intel Mac came out because those with older Macs had to buy the newer one, because the PPC versions were being forced to become obsolete. They manage to sell 3M per quarter for less than a year and now they are back down again...though still selling.

If Macs were at the same cost of a Windows PC's with the exact same specs which is about $400 less than a Mac, and now that Macs run Windows, more businesses would likely buy them because they are nice machines. But as long as Apple charges a premium for mid-ranged hardware, only execs and school children will have them.