Microsoft Surface sales are “starting modest” says Steve Ballmer

imageSo far Microsoft has not released any sales figures for the Microsoft Surface RT, but in Microsoft’s first comment on the performance of the device, Steve Ballmer has told Le Parisien that sales of the Microsoft Surface "are starting modestly."

Microsoft blamed this more on a lack of distribution rather than demand, noting that the device is only being sold through Microsoft Stores, where the tablet is in fact often on short supply.

Talking about the shortages, he said "It’s a good sign," adding that Microsoft "will fix this problem quickly" and that the increase in capacity is part of the company’s strategy.

Steve also talked about the coming Surface Pro, noting that it will have a higher-definition screen and Intel processor. He also repeated an earlier announcement that the company sold 4 million Windows 8 upgrades to consumers in only 3 days.


  • berumen

    hurry up surface pro

  • Maglev Yerov

    I hope the Pro device doesn’t dissappoint me with lack of GPS, MBB, and NFC capabilities.

  • GG002

    Lack of distribution, you damn right there! I even had to practise my German to get one from Germany!

    • lemonheads

      While “lack of distribution” is very much true, I don’t believe that its the main reason for Surface sales. I mean, haven’t they thought about distribution way before the launch so that everybody can buy it? Don’t they have a “distribution” plan before launch?

      • GG002

        I frankly have no idea what you’re trying to say.

  • Lasp24

    I want to hear about windows phone sales as well, hope they are doing great!

  • mdbourke

    maybe if Microsoft was not so arrogant and sold them retail, kiosks or supply partners, they would see a boost in sales…ASUS RT VIVO

  • rsgx

    Anyone still waiting for the RT?

    I’m probably going to return mine.

  • besplatan

    The tablet is on short supply in Microsoft Store? I see all models available for immediate delivery in all markets. Was the supposed 3 week backlog just a ploy to fool developers?

    • Hal Berenson

      The impression I got from talking to store personnel is that they have a good balance between what they are selling and daily deliveries of new stock. That implies that occasionally they sell out for the day.

    • Google Sucks Donkey Balls

      You’ve clearly missed the part where users in the UK and Europe in general failed to get their Surface RT tablet for days and even weeks. The demand was much more than they expected.
      Android tablets are dead and buried with the arrival of Windows 8. Deal with it.

  • CXM

    price *cough* *cough*

    • arrow2010

      People these days want to buy it in a physical store, not online.

  • rlintw

    I’ve encountered a couple of folks who knew of the Surface and wanted to talk when they spotted me using mine. I love it, BTW. In both cases, these folks had seen the ads and read info online about the device but were unhappy that they hadn’t been able to find one in a store to touch and play with first. They were unaware that the Surface was only available at Microsoft stores. There are two stores in my area, so I directed them there. I understand why Microsoft limited the Surface to its stores (leaving the traditional retail channels to their OEMs), but this probably isn’t a workable strategy long-term unless they want the Surface to be a niche product.

  • arrow2010

    The lack of distribution is intentional, they didn’t want to risk getting millions of defective units out too quick and shattering the brand.

    • Hal Berenson

      Actually, the primary reason is to avoid channel conflict with the OEMs. However if the OEMs don’t step up their game I predict Surface will be in broader distribution within 6 months.

      • arrow2010

        They better fix the touch/type cover issues as well as the audio & lag problems. Otherwise don’t even bother.

  • JohnCz

    When I first heard they planned to sell somewhere north of 3 million units, which I think is very doable, it was obvious to me that they would have to look beyond their own retail store/kiosk footprint. Which retail store chain will carry these will be interesting.

    • Bugbog

      A lot of places would be interested if the supply were available. You only have to look to the non-supplied regions and the suppliers that are filling the void (at double the cost!)

  • The__Truth__Hurts

    Three things that would make me go out and buy the Surface RT right now.
    1) Office 365 support (Outlook, Word, powerpoint, excel, etc…)
    2) 128GB version (64GB might be cutting it close)
    3) Type cover and stylus bundle.

    Yes, yes. There is the Pro, but I really don’t need the power of the pro. I will be able to do fine with the RT. I just want Office 365 support (I see no reason why Outlook isn’t for RT), 128GB of onboard storage and a Type cover & stylus bundle.

    • PoohGQ

      I think you’re just asking for too much of RT! First of all RT comes with Mail, Calendar and People apps. MS wants people back using their on-line services in order to create an Eco-system centered around their on-line services which in turn will get people to move on to the Office 365 services for business/professional use.

      Surface RT has a Micro-SD slot. It’s cheaper to get a 32GB version and add in a $55 64GB Micro-SD card. In addition, you can also get a higher capacity thumb-drive for storage you office docs if you opt of SkyDrive storage..

      Otherwise, just wait for the Surface Pro and be happy! :)

    • tsunami1609

      64GB version + 64GB class 10 SD for $50 additional solves your memory issue

    • frankswilde

      Its syncs all your documents/ history etc. with office 365. Even the desktop layout is the same from one machine to another. Switching accounts from your live to office 365 is just a click. You just have to use the cloud for your outlook. I think it is fantastic and can’t understand why people are waiting for the pro, unless it is going to be their only machine. For me just being able to carry something this small, durable and flexible is revolutionary for my business.

  • NegLewis

    There is NO WP for testing in ANY Store.
    There is – relatively – no Surfaces for testing in Stores.
    Samsung just opened a store – the biggest and the newest in the country !!! but there is no Samsung W8 Tablet no WP… even on the pictures in/around the store.
    In 2 years I only saw 2 working phones in stores… EVEN NOW!!!
    There is at least 1 iPhone in EVERY store that sells Phones. At least 2-3 Android Phones… and ABSOLUTELY NO WP for testing,,.
    there are ALL behind the glass or Plastic Mockups.

    WHY the surfaces should sell? Why the WP should succeed ??? …

    • Thomas

      Not sure where you live but here in Germany there are multiple stores which have WP 7 and 8 devices on display for you to try. Surface not so much I would agree. And steer clear of mobile phone operator stores as they are the ones who mostly show dummies (plastic mockups as you call them) and otherwise devices locked away behind glass.

  • mikey

    Got mine in less than a week from the uk online store if there were problems, they seem to has been resolved. As for device, well, good things come to those who wait, simply put great device I’m loving it.