Microsoft’s new tablet, the Surface, is supposed to make the iPad and MacBook Air irrelevant. It’s supposed to be the best of both worlds by being a tablet/laptop hybrid. Reviews of the Surface have been mixed, and initial sales reports are indicating that Surface RT might be in trouble, because no one is buying it.
According to new research by the Boston-based brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton, Microsoft is likely to sell fewer than 1 million Surface RT units in the December quarter. To put that number in perspective, Apple sold 300,000 original iPad units on its first day of availability.
Despite being backed by a billion-dollar marketing campaign, Detwiler says that Microsoft’s tablet strategy appears to be in disarray, but the firm believes Microsoft should see more demand for Windows 8 tablets in the second half of 2013.
One of the major hurdles hindering Microsoft Surface RT sales is a lack of distribution. The Surface RT is only available for purchase via Microsoft’s website, or from one of their few retail locations in the U.S. Selling the Surface RT at Best Buy might help Microsoft get more nationwide exposure and boost sales numbers despite the $599 price tag and bad reviews.
Detwiler estimates that current sales are probably around 500,000 to 600,000, which is markedly lower than previous estimates of 1-2 million units. On a more positive note, touchscreen-enabled Windows 8 laptops are outselling the Surface RT by a wide margin, and analysts believe the Surface Pro will experience stronger sales than the Surface RT.