It is a bit of a tussle to label how the Surface RT performed. As the first ever tablet from Microsoft, it was no way near a runaway success as the company would have hoped for.
But it cannot be classified as a failure either — far from it, in fact.
The ARM powered slate is about to reach figures of a million units moved very soon, but those expecting it to be a legitimate iPad killer are definitely left wanting. Several analysts have chipped in with their views on what went wrong — and what went right too — for Surface RT.
John DiFucci, an analyst over at J.P. Morgan estimates that Microsoft has sold 700,000 Surface RT tablets in the December quarter, and expects these figures to climb to 2.6 million by June 2013.
By contrast Apple had moved twenty times as many iPad units in the September quarter, an astronomical number of 14 million units.
He also believes the hefty price tag and negative reviews had a major part to play in the slow Surface sales. Talking to Forbes, DiFucci noted:
“We believe a number of factors, including price, the lack of cellular connectivity, and relatively lukewarm critical reviews will limit its broad appeal at this time. In addition, at least some Surface sales will be cannibalistic to traditional laptop sales.”
It remains to be seen how the Surface Pro (or Surface with Windows 8 Pro for the purists) affects these numbers when it is released later this month.
It could potentially drive the Surface RT numbers up as Microsoft’s tablets gain mainstream acceptance, or in a worst case scenario eat into the cheaper tablet’s market.