Analysts estimate as few at 230,000 Surface tablets sold last year.


Prior to Surface going on sale analysts predicted around 2 million would be sold.  After the quarter ended one analyst suggested about 1 million actually made it to market.  Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini however thinks the number may have been lower, a lot lower.  They estimate as few as 230,000 Surface tablets were sold, hardly enough to make a real impression in the market or support the Windows RT ecosystem.  Fortunately for Microsoft Windows 8 is there to carry the torch, with the company saying it has shipped more than 60 million licenses since launch
Do our readers think the low-balled numbers are realistic? Let us us know below.


  • DW

    It is small wonder this happened. Being an RT device, it was the initial release of the OS, it should have been budget priced so that people “just buy it” without thinking too hard. Let it be known as the “low end” Windows device, rather than some kine of alternative to the x86 product. As it’s turned out, MS has been trying to keep their OEM partners happy by pricing it higher and I think this has resulted in poor sales. There is still time to chop 20-30% off the and reassert their commitment to the platform at the same time. They then need to follow up with a 7-8″ model that can be used in the home, which is of a lower price again.

    • ErikPienknagura

      that is just peoples point of views that think Surface RT is pricey, its 100 dolas cheaper than Ipad and, the keyboard, office, its been my everyday companion in college

      • alec

        New product with very little mind share that I have yet to see in public.

        • DW

          I guess that’s what I was targeting in my earlier statement – mind share is low right now. Google and Amazon benefited from a low price point and MS needs to offer something in the $299 price range to build some volume. It may well be a 7-8″ RT tablet. Oh, and I think with the OEMs not supporting RT, they can reduce the price of the current RT surface to build volume.

  • brent3000

    I got one, so did 4 other people I know,

    However I know a lot of people who didn’t get one due to the lack of any 3G support in any of the devices. IMHO one if its biggest downfalls was no 3g option

    • B_Sack

      When maybe 5% of tablets sold have 3G, why have to make a bunch of different models with different carrier radios? USB ect = use whatever 3G connection you want. Buy one at verizon, buy one at AT&T. Much more useful than “oh crap, my model is AT&T only!”

      • brent3000

        We don’t have that issue here in Australia 😉
        Most tablets are quadband/pentaband and work on all AUS carriers regardless

      • Chris Georgeson

        Here’s the flip side of this argument though. MS has touted Surface a new kind of tablet, a tablet that is a computer, a tablet that is cutting edge. Yet they didn’t add 3G or NFC…. that is a strange choice for a cutting edge tablet. It doesn’t matter if the tablet user is going to use it or not, it’s a check box that needs to be checked.
        I agree with you on the confusing amount of SKU’s though.

  • hysonmb

    If this is true, they gave away more than they sold between promotions and handing one out to every employee.
    I do know a couple of people who have them and none of them have any serious issues with them. I had one for a week but decided to return it and wait for Pro to ship. Plus I already have a slate PC running Win8 so the only benefit of RT was battery life and I love the Touch Cover.

  • Njoi Fontes

    I seriously find it hard to believe but if it is indeed the case it just goes to show how poorly distributed it really is and the uphill battle that Microsoft has in changing their negative image in many people’s eyes.

    • Skiman

      Apple has more of a negative image lately

  • Steve Leighton

    How would any of us know? Estimates are all over the place, from people who make a living estimating such things. Somebody is seriously way off. More importantly, what the disparity tells us is that the estimates are serving another purpose. A lot of people want Surface and Windows 8, and Windows Phone to fail, to be cheaper, or are just crying sour grapes. Acer has no cred here. Dell has its own struggles and Windows 8 did not save it. Too bad. I liked Dell. The only other non-Apple PC makers who seem to be “getting it” are Lenovo and Samsung. And Lenovo underestimated touch-screen demand. Or they decided to wait and see, and now they have seen. Samsung makes some beautiful ultrabooks. Likely Microsoft isn’t going anywhere. Also likely that the multi-fronted refresh of their entire consumer/end-user-facing product line will work in the end. People on the fence will jump ship to Mac/iOS or Android. Those who stay in the new Microsoft ecosystem will be rewarded with a much more seamless integration. Where Apple has strengths in design and manufacturing and marketing, Microsoft has strengths in software and research. And piles and piles of cash. Piles. Mountains. They don’t need to be an instant success here. Phone, tablet, PC. If you want to carry only 2 out of those 3, Surface gives you an option. If you like the laptop/PC form-factor, you can keep it and have more choices, better performance, higher reliability and security. As far as I’m concerned, Surface RT allowed me to lighten my travel load with minimal limitations and some new entertainment options. That it is not everything is immaterial. For some, it is “not quite tablet and not quite laptop”. For me, it is the best of both. Microsoft gets slammed for not showing design leadership. Then it does and gets slammed for getting out ahead of its OEMs. The OEMs SHOULD be embarrassed. What was stopping them? Lack of leadership and lack of partnership. Let the games begin, or let them whine like Acer. Or let them recover like Nokia who at least has leadership in its memory banks. Or knock design out of the park like HTC has with 8x. Microsoft is attempting to do what RIM failed to do. Maybe RIM will recover, or maybe Microsoft will take their place. One thing is for sure, I am not looking to the analysts to tell me who won or who is winning. There is time enough to let the truth be told.

    • Bugbog

      Seriously. ‘People’ have been whinging about Microsoft’s year+ lead in time to Windows 8’s release, only for….? Yep! the OEM’s to barely even ship one [touch-screen] device apiece! Blaming everything from parts shortages, manufacturing difficulties, to poor demand?!!

      For those that have been able to release their single device, there has been practically no advertising. To say Microsoft hasn’t been doing it’s fair share of heavy lifting is an insult to our eyeballs and eardrums which have been assaulted and bombarded constantly for the last 2 months with the new Windows 8 adverts! But with no OEM follow-up to showcase a specific touch device (other than Microsoft’s Surface), HOW ON EARTH do they expect to achieve any major sales?

      I’m fairly certain that 3months in, Microsoft’s Surface Pro will be released to sales that will swamp all currently released models, combined! Which is a shame (and disgrace) all in of itself.

      All these OEM’s Should hide their faces in shame!

  • Tom Cruise

    FLOP…no wonder they fired the Surface creator

    • arcana112

      The Surface creator is Panos Panay and is happily working in ms. You are confused and a nimrod…

  • darthtigris

    Microsoft didn’t give any hard numbers in the financial statement, so this is how the media tries to force them to give us something. We’ll see if it works …

    • Temp

      You nailed it right there. That’s exactly what “they” are doing.

  • disqustingtard

    Ohes noes Microsoft is doomed…. dooooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmed…

  • oldjovian

    I bought one! Count me in!

    I’m enjoying it a lot . . .

    • Bugbog

      Here too! Can’t imagine using any other tablet at all! The integrated kickstand is.simply.indispensable!

  • DigTheNoise

    Another worthless article about somebody guessing.

  • ekadoken

    Surface Fail.
    IPad mini FTW !

    • Lions Den

      I am guessing you haven’t used the iPad mini? It has iOS on it and is nearly useless

  • koenshaku

    I’m surprised this article wasn’t sourced from the verge and that is even posted here. Wasn’t it reported that the surface has the lastest windows 8 market share of any other OEM a couple weeks ago? If that is the case I find 230,000 to be quite far fetched. All this is still early nonetheless and the surface was really only at MS stores even still it doesn’t have a proper kiosk at brick and mortar stores. The fact of the matter is this this is a baseless report by an analyst that with no mention of statistics because the bulk of the units were sold through microsoft’s store. I guess this is more of a taught for MS to come clean with some numbers not even news worthy.

  • Steve Williams

    Just another analyst wanting their name in the media by making stuff up that news sites like this eagerly consume.

    • Tom Young

      Heather Bellini is a well-known Microsoft bear. She’s had a Hold rating on Microsoft for several years now. On Wall Street, “Hold” means “Sell.”
      (All Wall Street analyst ratings are inflated by one grade. There was a study done during the 1990s that showed they had 7 Buy ratings for every Sell rating.)

  • Mariusz Lasota

    I think the numbers may be true. Microsoft should have released Surface Pro first, so that people can use desktop applications, given the scarcity of metro apps. I was waiting a long time to buy a tablet and was hoping it would be some W8 metro device, but no 3G/LTE connectivity and no useful apps after a year forced me to …. buy an iPad. It’s arriving today. I am still open to a good MS device, but I guess I need to wait another year or two.

    • ITpro

      Bad luck, surface rt is still more useful than an iPad

  • donzebe

    The surface is selling well, plus the primary goal was not to sell in the millions, it was design to be enjoy by those want to work and play. I bought five for my nieces / nephews over the holiday and they gave away their ipad/nexus. They enjoy using the surface in school as well as play a few games.

    Keep praying, Microsoft / Windows not going any where anytime soon. Still have a hundred plus years the serve humans with innovative products.

  • jimski27

    Just some more fuzzy math from another analysis pouting over the hit their Apple stock has taken these past few months.

  • SategB

    Everything about this product was a mess starting with poor distribution and poor pricing. But even before that, lets be honest beside a 230,000 or so of us fanboys rushed out and bought one, the design of this product while executed well lack thoughtful intent. Rather then creating a kick butt tablet, they created a a no compromised full of compromised laptop. Then came out with ads that did not promote product superior features that encourage the average Joe to care but spent an inordinate amount of time telling us it makes a cool clicky sound (and possible make you a good dubstep dancer).

    I am afraid if MSFT may be just a shell of itself in 5 years. shame.

  • michaelg

    Count me in. Pricey? I think its a great value. Not everything needs to be free or low end for me to buy. I tried the others. I love Surface and found I could do anything I wanted including remote to my servers, other computers and NAS on my network while surfing net and watching TV. And it controls my Xbox nicely. What I find really productive is the fact that the Office suite does everything I need. I find myself using it as a tablet half the time. It’s really nice to have the keyboard when I want and the built in kickstand is nice when I just want it to play music or video. I use my phone network when I’m mobile. Even as an RT model it’s an all around multitasking productivity tool.

  • Scott Humble

    IDC reports 900,000 sold.

  • Round House

    I think the numbers are low balled. When there is such a wide gap between 2m and 230,000 everyone is just throwing darts and seeing what sticks. When is real journalism going to prevail, rather than a weak opinion.

  • USB 3G

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