So just how many Surface tablets will be sold in its first quarter on the market? Microsoft itself has been quiet in terms of offering specific sales predictions, and CEO Steve Ballmer has said that Microsoft's approach to selling the tablet has been "modest" in terms of distributing it. So far, the only places people can purchase Surface is via a Microsoft retail store or on the Microsoft website. The only exception has been China, where Microsoft has been working with a local retailer to sell the tablet.
With only a few more weeks to go before the fourth quarter of 2012 ends, CNET reports that two analysts have differing predictions on how many Surface tablets the company will sell. On the one hand, IHS iSuppli analyst Rhoda Alexander thinks that Microsoft will end up selling 1.3 million Surface tablets in the quarter, adding, "I would be surprised to see it much above that." On the other hand, the Boston brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton has predicted that Microsoft won't even sell one million units of the Windows RT device.
The article points out that Google's Nexus 7 tablet, running on Android, is now estimated to be selling close to one million units a month. However, the Nexus 7 has a price of $199 compared to the starting price of $499 for the Surface. Apple sold 14 million iPads in the third quarter of 2012.