Surface Pro sells out quickly - due to high demand or low supply?

By on February 11, 2013, 2:00 PM

Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet hit retail shelves last Friday but you wouldn’t know it if you happened to venture into any number of big box stores this weekend. That’s because the slate was nowhere to be found – sold out in virtually every location, we’re told.

Both the 64GB and 128GB units were sold out online through Microsoft’s website by Saturday. All of this could mean one of two things: either Microsoft had a fantastic sales weekend or they didn’t ship nearly enough tablets to fill demand. At this time, it appears that the latter might be the more likely scenario.

Why exactly would Microsoft intentionally release the Surface Pro in short supply? For the same reason that a number of other companies have been accused of doing – to create buzz and further build demand. We aren’t saying that is what happened, but others are certainly making that accusation.

Richard Hay from Windows Observer did some investigation and found that one store said they only received one model each of the Surface Pro (64GB and 128GB). Another store said their shipment never made it in time for the retail launch while another retailer noted they only received five of each tablet. A number of locations told him they didn’t have any display models of the tablet or only had the 64GB model on display.

Of course, it’s also entirely possible that the shortage is due to higher than anticipated demand. ZDNet points out that Microsoft didn’t take any pre-orders for the device like they did with the Surface RT devices. It’s unclear why Microsoft wouldn’t hold pre-orders, however. Hopefully we will know more sooner rather than later but it’s not likely that the company will release sales figures unless they are astronomical.




User Comments: 11

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MilwaukeeMike said:

Well... do we know how many they sold? When those numbers are released then we'll have a better idea. Other sites have speculated that MS kept the supply low to avoid being embarrassed if it didn't sell well. There are two ways to look at Surface Pro... On one hand, it's by far the fastest tablet you can buy because it's got the guts of a nice ultrabook. But it's also the heaviest and has the worst battery life.

I can understand it might be tricky to predict demand.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think MS is being deliberately coy about actual sales figures/units sold and made available. Let's face it, they haven't had a whole lot of good press since Windows 8 was released and are obviously doing what they can to maximize "good" press - even if it is manufactured with numbers no one can verify.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Manufacturers seldom release the number of units sold but they are quick to release the number of units shipped. Two different beasts. I suspect M$ is also asking for a bit (read plenty) too much for these things although they may just turn out to be popular.

GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

I worked all weekend, got to calls late Friday asking if we were gonna have any,we said not till Sunday at the earliest, got 10-15 phone calls on Saturday asking if we had any, since Best buy in our town never got any, Sunday came, got our weird random truck, we got our demo model and a 64gb for sale. Valley of 80,000 people got 1 surface pro for launch and it was the one that nobody wanted, since the 64gb version only has like 20gb free space.

Guest said:

"...it's not likely that the company will release sales figures unless they are astronomical."

how can they be astronomical if nothing is getting sold due to the fact that they are out-of-stock everywhere?

..and I know, because I checked everywhere in my state.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

I think MS is being deliberately coy about actual sales figures/units sold and made available. Let's face it, they haven't had a whole lot of good press since Windows 8 was released and are obviously doing what they can to maximize "good" press - even if it is manufactured with numbers no one can verify.

It's only been out for a couple days, we should probably wait a while longer before thinking they're hiding something from us.

Manufacturers seldom release the number of units sold but they are quick to release the number of units shipped. Two different beasts. I suspect M$ is also asking for a bit (read plenty) too much for these things although they may just turn out to be popular.

That would because manufacturers seldom know the number of units sold. They would need to hear back from the store to know how many are still sitting on the shelf. In this case, however, it seems that they've sold every single 128GB unit they've made.

Regarding the pricing... this is barely a tablet. Someone please correct me on this, but I think it's cheaper than any ultrabook with an Intel Core i5. It's processing is literally 5 times faster than an iPad 4, and it has the terrible battery life of a laptop, not a tablet. Check out the review on Anandtech...http://www.anandtech.com/show/6695/microsoft-sur
ace-pro-review

Guest said:

"Someone please correct me on this, but I think it's cheaper than any ultrabook with an Intel Core i5"

Duly corrected. Here's an i5 Dell ultrabook for $794:

[link]

and an HP for $679:

[link]

Guest said:

Got a Dell 14Z with a Core I5 and 6gb of RAM for $569. We can argue whether it is an "ultrabook", but in fact it has an I5 and is less than 5lbs. My guess is that it is as useful (or more) than either Surface model. It has Win 7, so it probably is more useful, now that I think about it. And yes, I have a Win 8 Pro distribution that I can scarcely stand to fire up anymore on another machine.

yRaz yRaz said:

"Someone please correct me on this, but I think it's cheaper than any ultrabook with an Intel Core i5"

Duly corrected. Here's an i5 Dell ultrabook for $794:

[link]

and an HP for $679:

[link]

great, now turn one of those into a tablet

1 person liked this | TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

I don't think Microsoft need to sell a lot of these. They only need to make a premium device for a high price that will serve as the role model, and other companies make cheaper ones that are sold in huge quantities. If Microsoft start to compete with OEMs too much it will only be bad for MS. Those who wants the best will still buy the premium devices.

ThanosPAS ThanosPAS said:

I don't think Microsoft need to sell a lot of these. They only need to make a premium device for a high price that will serve as the role model, and other companies make cheaper ones that are sold in huge quantities. If Microsoft start to compete with OEMs too much it will only be bad for MS. Those who wants the best will still buy the premium devices.

And what the OEM's are going to do if SP sells great? They will switch to iOS, Ubuntu or who knows to what? Maybe they can make MS's life harder, but comparing to the potential revenue they can make with the laptop/tablet idea in the future, it's a pain worth handling.

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