Ever since Microsoft released the first Surface tablet in late October, we’ve been trying to get an idea of just how well the product was faring. We’ve heard reports from analysts that seem to be all over the field, ranging from modest success to some very underwhelming figures. As time goes on, we’re hoping that these reports start becoming a bit more accurate, and are able to close in on an accurate assessment. If the latest report we’ve heard is near that mark, Microsoft could be really taking a beating in the tablet market, with claims that last year the company only managed to sell one million Surface RTs.
Brent Thill at UBS initially projected two million Surface sales for Microsoft in 2012, but recently downgraded that figure to a single million. Beyond just competition from more popular tablets, he identifies Microsoft’s very limited distribution chain as responsible for not getting the Surface into the hands of more consumers. Even though we saw Microsoft greatly expand Surface retail availability in December, it may have been too little, too late.
On the plus side, a slow start for the Surface RT need not necessarily be a harbinger of doom for the Windows 8 Pro Surface, and an appreciable number of users may have just been waiting for this more powerful Surface to arrive.
It’s important to understand that these numbers are just analyst estimates, and Surface could be doing a whole lot better than their reports suggest.