Bloomberg: Microsoft sold 400k Surface Pro devices

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 15, 2013
Updated • Mar 15, 2013

Microsoft has not released information about how the company's Surface devices do sales-wise. It launched the Surface RT back in October 2012 along with the Windows 8 operating system, and the Surface Pro in mid-February 2013. Bloomberg claims that Microsoft sold 1.1 million Surface RT devices and 400,000 Surface Pro devices since then.  The information, verified by three unnamed sources, have not been confirmed by Microsoft who refused to comment on those sales figures.

The figures paint an interesting picture if true. The 1.1 million Surface RT devices were sold in a four and a half month period including the important November and December months. That's not a lot even if you take into account the limited availability of the device.  Apple sold 22.9 million iPads in the fourth quarter alone and while the comparison is not fair, considering that it pits Microsoft's first generation device against an established brand, it highlights that Microsoft has a long way ahead to come even near those figures.

Microsoft sold 400,000 Surface Pro devices on the other hand since mid-February in North America alone. The number may not look like much on first glance, but you have to consider that this cannot be compared with sales of tablets as it is retailing for around $900. The Surface Pro is a computer and as such, needs to be compared to devices in its price range. For one month, that is a solid start and it is likely going to pick up once the device becomes available in additional markets and supply is not that much of an issue anymore.

The figures suggest that Surface Pro is off to a better start than the Surface RT, which some may find surprising considering the price difference between both devices. Then again, if you want to run desktop software on your device, the Surface Pro is the only logical choice for that as Surface RT can't run those applications at all.

Microsoft will hopefully shed some light into the sales situation soon so that we can all get a clearer picture on that.

What is your take on those figures. Is 1.1 million Surface RT and 400,000 Surface Pro devices a solid start or disappointing?


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  1. Aaron said on March 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Selling over 400K Surface Pro at a price over $1000 in one month and only in US and Canada is great news for Microsoft.

    In fact, Google’s communist act is failing miserably. Samsung is taking almost all profits leaving Google and other Android manufacturer’s almost nothing.

    Windows 8 tablet market share will surpass Android tablets very soon according to the IDC’s estimate. The IDC’s market share estimate is based on number of units. Windows 8 tablets are more expensive now, so it will sell fewer for now. But low cost models will come out soon. On the other hand, Android is going after the lower and lower end market at cheaper and cheaper prices.

    In terms of market share based on revenue, Microsoft’s Surface is selling at $999, or $1140 plus the touch cover, that’s about 5 times of 7″ Android tablets. Revenue-wise, Microsoft only needs 1/5 of Android’s market share to beat all Android manufacturers combined. Moreover, Surface has a gross margin of 45%, vs. cheap Android devices at less than 20% of gross margin, in terms of gross profit, Microsoft makes 11 times more profit selling one Surface Pro than Android vendors selling one Android tablet!

    And price-wise, Dell, Asus, HP and Lenovo are offering lower end Win 8 tablets at about $399 to $499, which is very competitive to iPad and 10″ Android tablets. Lastly, don’t forget that Microsoft receives $5-$10 of royalty for each Androud device sold.

  2. Neal said on March 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    It is far to be compared to Ipad. At their prices, the margins are close, with the RT actually slightly better. The Pro tablet is expensive because Microsoft is forced to sell at that price. Lower it anymore and Microsoft undercuts its OEM partners who already have razor thin margins in large part b/c of the Windows licensing fees which of course Microsoft doesn’t have to deal with.

    Something has to give, and reports of Microsoft giving steep discounts on licensing fees to OEM, confirms that the situation is dire, b/c licensing fees is Microsoft’s sacred cow. It’s like selling your children to save the house type of deal.

  3. ilev said on March 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Samsung CEO: “Lackluster demand” for Windows devices

    WSJ: What about your relationship with Microsoft? Has it changed after Nokia began to work more closely with Microsoft on Windows devices?

    Mr. Shin: Smartphones and tablets based on Microsoft’s Windows operating system aren’t selling very well. There is a preference in the market for Android. In Europe, we’re also seeing lackluster demand for Windows-based products.

    1. sades said on March 16, 2013 at 4:08 am

      This actually says something. Since Samsung is on a comfortable position with their android ecosystem they have way more leeway to talk the truth about the true situation regarding Windows 8.

  4. beemeeup said on March 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    The Surface Pro is great for digital artists with its pressure-sensitive stylus,
    so there’s yet another market for the Surface Pro.

    Here’s a review:

  5. ilev said on March 15, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Microsoft stopped selling the Surface RT in US due to poor sales.
    Samsung never sold its Ativ S Tab in US and stopped selling it in Europe due to not wanting to invest in a failed platform.
    Samsung thinks that Windows 8 is no better than Vista.
    I think that the Windows 8 platform (Windows 8/RT/WP8) has failed. Windows Blue may give it some air until Windows 9 coming next year. With Windows 9 , Windows 8 will have Vista’s faith and will vanish.

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