Update: Microsoft’s Surface RT sales reportedly off to a “modest” start

Ian Hardy

November 11, 2012 1:52 pm


Microsoft came out with guns blazing about their new Windows 8 and Surface RT tablet. This 10.6-incher launched a couple weeks back and while we patiently wait for some sort of sales numbers, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, has gone on record with a French paper called Le Parisienan and announced that initial sales have been “modest,” but highlighted that a “higher-end” and “unique” version of the Surface will be coming out soon – Surface Pro running Windows 8 – that will probably boost numbers.

The Surface RT, which has a base price of $519, faces stiff competition with the other tablets on the market, namely the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, BlackBerry PlayBook and Google’s Nexus 7. When the Surfaced launched in Canada there was a lineup of about 200 people at the Toronto Eaton Centre to buy one. Read our full review of the Surface RT here.

Update: It seems that Ballmer’s quote on “modest” sales was taken way out of context. A statement has been released that says sales are not modest, but how Microsoft is going to market and their supply. Ballmer now says Surface “reception” of the Surface has been “fantastic.” Full statement below:

“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 certain Microsoft retail stores in the U.S. 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.”

Source: Le Parisien
Via: Engadget & PocketNow

  • Tommy

    So its outsold the Playbook already

    • LeParisien

      -Do you mean: “Le Pariesien”?

      -Their mistake was to compare the surface to the competition; if they compare it to the RIM-Playbook the sales are spectacular!

      -At $720 for a tablet with-keyboard “Modesd sales” sound too optimistic!

      -Drop the Surface to what the market will pay; not what Microsoft THINKS is worth it and the thing will sell: around $400

    • LeParisien

      The Surface doesnt’ and won’t sell now that people learned that the Operating System takes 12GB, that’s T W E L V E GB out of the 16GB in the base model!!

      The 32GB model has 19 GB of Usable memory-for $720!!

      They have to drop the price or
      Increase the models to 32 and 64GB ..And reduce the price.
      Classic Microsoft, they still thinkg that more millions of code equals a better OS!
      Thanks but no thanks N7 and N10 FTW!

    • Tom

      There is no 16GB Surface. It’s in either 32GB or 64GB. Free space in 32GB model is 16GB and in 64GB model is 46GB. Price for Surface with keyboard, the 32GB model came out to be just over 699 with tax.

  • TKG26

    Only a fool would spend that money on the RT version. The RT versions should have been sold for 300$ or less. At 519$ you would be better off buying a touch screen windows 8 pro laptop at 600$ range

    • stylinred

      you would be missing the point of this tablet if you bought a laptop instead…

    • Joeb

      You can get a 64GB Acer W510 tablet with Windows 8 for 599$.
      And this is not an RT version but a full x64 Windows 8.

    • pacalis

      There is no point to this tablet. ARM Windows 8 tablets will be obsolete in a year, or sooner as ACER and others start putting i3s in lower end Win 8 tablets.

    • LeParisien

      It’s Microsoft the one that MISSED THE POINT!
      For $720 you can get a nice Laptop without a Hard drive, or a phone and a tablet or…

      They simply priced themselves out and underdeliver with the OS, which is such a memory-hog/ memory-hugger.

  • Mike

    I was going to buy it until I discovered it didn’t run a full version of Windows 8. I’m at fault for being nieve on that one.

  • Chris

    It’s completely over priced. I would rather spend that money on a high end android tablet.

    • Harris

      High-End? Android? The two don’t mix.

  • vn33

    Still don’t understand why people line up for any kind of products. Is it important to be one of the first to own anything?

    • Sam

      You show me a tard in a linup to BUY anything and I’ll show you a complete loser.

  • screamer

    Nobody need a tablet since phonesgetting bigger and bigger

  • Alex

    Don’t be fooled! Windows RT is not Windows! It’s in TouchPad territory right now.

  • Hunkyleepickle

    I think it’s a great product for its purpose. Microsoft needs to stop telling us its ‘next thing’ will be great though, and work on improving the weaknesses of its existing products. Flesh out your App Store, both windows and windows phone, and the need for a full version of windows on a surface with be less for a lot of people I think.

  • Brad F(anboy)

    This would have never happened if Steve Jobs were alive.

    Wait, what?

  • GTP20

    I don’t have a problem with Windows RT but I do agree the price is way too high for an RT tablet. All that aside; its numbers are modest because you can’t buy the thing anywhere.

    If it was at BestBuy, Futureshop and other stores I’m sure its numbers would be much better.

    I don’t like spending $600 on a product I haven’t tried, so I’m not interested in ordering it online. I’m also not interested in going all the way to The Eaton Centre to buy a tablet I should be able to get down the street.

  • Josh

    I was excited about the Surface until I found out that it wouldn’t be running the full version of Windows. Then the news that the keyboard would be sold separately made me less excited to get it. And when the price came out I lost all interest.

  • Tom

    The surface is a huge failure and it all boils down to price point

  • dave thans

    A full priced tablet that has limited apps, consumer knowledge and expensive accessories. Asking to fail given the lesser expensive feature rich competition.

    They should have priced this much lower to get market saturation. Microsoft still think they are a premium brand, which I laugh at given Apple and google as players in the game with better products.

  • David

    Steve, you aren’t the other Steve. You can’t sell your stuff at premium price.

  • nely

    make a 7-8 inch version at 300$, and I’ll buy it in a heartbeat… anything higher than that is just too much.

  • ActivesiN

    it will be even more modest compared to Nexus 10 launch

  • Aidan

    They really missed the mark with this one. I was all up for buying the new MS tablet until I found out it won’t run standard PC software. I’m waiting for the PRO version.

  • techtredzy

    #1 Balmer is the worst tech CEO around. He does not understand the industry and allows Microsoft to reach into the past to confuse their newest products.
    #2 The actual products, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Xbox, these are great technologies that consumers should be using. The Metro w/touch interface is far better than Apple and Google tablets. Those companies don’t come close to giving us the awsome interface Microsoft has delivered.
    but
    Because Balmer is so dumb he allows the company to also have the “Windows 7 desktop” in the tablet. That contrasting desktop is so bleeeping annoying the average consumer may forever leave Microsoft if they start using the old desktop within Windows 8, and since it is there, it is hard not to.
    Windows 8 should not have the old desktop and app functionality, they should have capped Windows 7 where it is for now.
    Windows 8 should only be allowed on touch screen devices / tablets and eventually as the world becomes full touch it is on your office touch PC. Let the amazing software force the new touch hardware purchase, don’t try to design software for hardware of the past. DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB. Windows 8 would have recived better reviews and been available a long time ago had Balmer not been such a horrific CEO.
    The live tile interface should be the biggest focus of the company. Everything is going touch.
    Windows of old will die away.
    I have removed the live tile that gives access to the Windows 7 desktop so I don’t become annoyed.
    Windows RT touch makes sense, it kills the ipad. Having a mouse and keyboard not designed for Windows 8 kills Microsoft. Windows 8 sucks on my Dell laptop, is wonderful on the Microsoft Surface being sold at the Microsoft Store.

    Balmer better pray that people are smart enough to avoid their old mouse and keyboard with Windows 8 or they are just going to look like the worst product designers around.
    Bottom line: Windows 8 is for touch, it outshines the ipad/ios bore. But do not waste your time loading this on an old machine, you will pull your hair out.

    • Sébastien Dicaire

      office touch Pc, ahaha never.

  • Hurley

    Remember when the HP Touchpad released? Almost zero tablet apps and on-par with iPad asking price? How can they think that they can command that asking price?!?

    They haven’t proven themselves in the tablet space, haven’t offered a real incentive other than ‘we have office!’ and ‘these tiles are pretty!’, and it carries the ‘Windows’ name, which to ME implies bugginess, compatibility issues, sluggish performance and freaking internet explorer and means diddly squat altogether.

    They are arrogant enough to not let this slip into firesale prices but that doesnt mean that this tablet does not deserve to be at them…

  • 299.99 sale

    299.99 sale price soon : ) ..that’s where it should have been in the first place. It should have been at cost or slightly below cost in order to break Ipads monopoly and to create an ecoystem for MS :)

  • Puck

    I went to Oakridge Centre last week in Vancouver to one of their Holiday Stores to check it out. Great first impression, but I’m not dropping $519 (plus the type cover, which is really why I’m buying the thing) for the tablet. I don’t think it’s SUPER expensive but there are already much cheaper options out there. I’ll be waiting for the Surface Pro with full W8, and even then won’t be needing one till next fall.

  • hoo dat

    Meh. Played with one about a week ago and it’s left me feeling numb. First of all it’s an extremely well made piece of kit so the initial promise is quite exciting but it’s hampered by Windows RT which is nothing more than a neutered version of Windows 8, which I don’t like to start off with. It does make a lot more sense on a full touch device than it does on a PC mind you but the experience is rather cold and unexciting in a Microsoft sort of way. The second drawback is the price. I don’t know what microsoft was smoking when it came to establishing their retail price but what ever it was I want some right now! I would expect some sort of price reduction probably in January or February. The Windows 8 Pro version is looking more promising now but once again it’s going to get slaughtered on price and it better have a lot more personality that it’s RT relative currently has.

  • wes

    I want one!!! But Pro version, even then not going to shell out more than 700-800$ (including the cover) for it. I guess I’ll wait til the second generation. Or when the price drops.

    If Microsoft wants the masses to adopt these tablets, they should better be dropping their prices soon! There’s just way too many tablets out there that are cheaper and will do a better job (app-wise).

    • Shameer M.

      Let’s look at a couple of things. The Surface Pro will come in two configurations – with 64GB storage or 128GB storage & both will include Touch Covers. Considering that the Surface RT (64GB with Touch Cover) costs $719, I don’t see the entry-level Surface Pro costing less than $899. I’m sure it’ll be a great device considering it’ll run full Windows 8, that’s still not a cheap price. You’re very close to Macbook Air territory in terms of pricing.

    • wes

      The question is not that really the price, but what the price that people are willing to pay. As you see from most posts, people want to product, but not at the current price it’s at. Microsoft can’t charge an Apple tax on their product, they simply don’t have the marketing or the branding that Apple has. Therefore, if you want your products to fly off the shelves. You got to build your base buy breaking into the market, and building your brand that way.

      Remember, every hardware from Microsoft, except for the Xbox, has failed. No one wants to buy a failure, but if the price is right, people don’t mind giving it a chance, ie. playbook.

      If Microsoft had the backing that Apple products have, and the marketing, and the crazed fans, Microsoft Surface would have sold like hotcakes. Sadly (for some), the reality is that Microsoft has a lot to do in order to convince people to try this device, and that’s NOT at this price range.

  • ile2010

    @Le Parisien

    There’s no such thing as a 16GB Surface. 32GB is the base model.

  • hank

    Go Pro or go home

  • Mark

    I would love to use a Surface RT with my Windows phone but Microsoft is too greedy right now. Great product but overpriced.

    • swizzlerz

      surface rt is not compatible with windows phone 7 series. you will need a windows phone 8 to plug it into surface….. sorry bud

      unless you just got a new unreleased windows phone 8 last week from rogers…

      btw… What would have you done in the early 90′s when a computer was easily priced at over $2000.00

  • Alade samson

    microsoft is the best software we used in africa.more grace to you .

  • Pahech

    “Modest” generally means it’s selling pretty badly.

    Not that I am totally surprised, because at that price point and the complete lack of applications currently is totally gimping it.

  • swizzlerz

    People forgot SURFACE somes with OFFICE.. the price of office is “$119.99 For 1 user 1 PC only”
    499-119= a true price of only $380 increase the $20 cdn sure charge puts it at a price of only $400………

    pro doesn’t come with office and is said to be retailed closer to a ultra book price that’s 900+

    I am happy with the value for what I get.. If you don’t want to spend that much don’t buy it. You don’t need to buy every tech gadget that hits the market people.

    Originally I wanted a hp tx. Then the tx2 came out .. Then the tm2. I finally got one then.. Research combined with knowing what you will use a device for is what everyone needs to do. Get what u will use.

    • hoo dat

      What if you don’t want Office? Most people use their laptops and their tablets differently so why not offer MS Works instead and just sell the tablet for less? Besides, just because MS Office retails for $119 doesn’t mean that’s how much it’s actually worth. You would think the cost to include Office on the Surface would be almost negligable for Microsoft.

  • Peter

    Shit is not going too well for Microsoft…. To compete with the iPad, you have to got some better arguments than a keyboard

  • ak

    Ipad is too expensive compared to this win tablet