As of this writing Microsoft has been terribly quiet when it comes to sharing the sales numbers for the Surface RT, the company’s first ever tablet.
We may yet hear just how well the device has performed at the launch event of Surface Pro, but for now we will have to make do with analyst estimates.
Israel Hernandez at MKM Partners is one such analyst who reckons Microsoft has sold 1 million Surface units to date, meaning when compared to other rival tablets, Surface RT is off to a sober start.
In an interview with Barron’s, Hernandez said the alarming lack of distribution and the fact that Surface RT had zero support for legacy Windows 8 applications were the two main reasons for the lackluster showing:
“We believe Surface RT, the ARM-based tablet running Windows 8, has been nothing short of a disappointment, given an uncompetitive price point relative to lower cost tablets such as the Kindle Fire and iPad Mini, a flawed rollout and distribution strategy, a lack of compelling applications with no backwards compatibility with x86-based Windows applications, and consumer disinterest in the new touch-based interface.”
I do agree with the lackluster distribution strategy bit — this was the case at least early on. Even though this was the most high profile hardware device from Microsoft, the Redmond giant probably tried to imitate Apple from the word go.
While the device was released to great fanfare, and a massive marketing behind it, the severe lack of distribution (particularly during the lively Holiday season) did not help one bit.
The distribution is finally getting on track, and it remains to be seen how the improved availability updates the sales figures in the coming months.