Figures published on the Bloomberg financial news oriented website today tell a bleak winter’s tale of Microsoft’s woes in trying to shift Surface computer tablet hybrids. Sales of the Microsoft Surface RT are said to tally to a little over one million and the more recently released Surface Pro adds around 400,000 units sold for a combined total of around 1.5 million units.
The Surface sales figures, which Bloomberg was informed of by three “people with knowledge of the company’s sales” and who asked not to be named, show Microsoft’s technically interesting and attractively designed device to have failed to meaningfully penetrate the fast growing tablet market. Looking at the wider tablet market, for example sales figures, we see that Apple’s iPad sold nearly 23 million units in the same quarter and Android tablets are set to overtake those from Apple during 2013.
An analyst at UBS, Brent Thrill, told Bloomberg that Microsoft had expected to sell two million Surface RTs during Q4 2012 and had ordered a total of three million from contracted manufacturers. What avenues the company can take to rescue the situation are far from obvious. Another analyst Alex Gauna, at JMP Securities, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying “It’s pretty clear that things were bad entering the year, and at least for the moment they’re getting worse” He continued “The path to a successful Surface, in the same way that they were successful with Xbox, is not very clear to me right now.
Looking forward there are various brokers and analysts revising Microsoft Surface sales figures downwards as the rest of the tablet market continues to grow rapidly. It was also noted by Bloomberg that Samsung has ceased selling its Windows RT powered tablet in Europe and decided not to even introduce it to the US market.
With PC sales in a downturn, impacting sales of the Windows 8 OS, and its Surface tablet initiative stalling, what is next for Microsoft? Perhaps it will hasten the launch of a more affordable Surface mini tablet range or decide to sell a version of Microsoft Office to the throng of willing iOS punters...