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.

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  • Steve Fitzpatrick

    Why are they comparing the price point with a Kindle Fire or an iPad Mini? Surface is an iPad equivalent product???

    Did they even look at the device?

    • Arnold

      No they don’t seem to know what they are talking about. The whole “no backwards compatibility with x86-based Windows applications,” IS the most asinine thing I ever read. When will people understand that there is not supposed to be backwards compatibility for RT. I really want to sit down with one of these writers. And have them show me how they load an X86 application on their IPad of Nexus 10. Really I need to see that accomplished.

      • rrr00bb

        There is a pretty small number of apps that work for Surface, and that’s a problem – regardless of whether it is supposed to be backwards compatible or not. I started writing an app for Surface, and decided to hold off until x86 tablets are more common, because I can use a WinRT app in the foreground while using some important x86 apps that work on Windows8 in the background (SuperCollider,ChucK, etc). If it’s going to be a totally new platform, then it will take a while to get enough apps to justify not just getting an iPad instead. (I have both; so I am an unusual case.)

        • PFinter

          If the app you were going to write is worthy of writing, don’t deny it to all the future Windows 8 Pro users because of the Win RT concern. Get your app out early, get it noticed while the Win 8 apps are still few and far between. You could have all sorts of feed back and a couple of revisions down before similar apps show up. Good Luck

  • Dan Dar3

    Comparing Surface RT with Kindle Fire and iPad Mini is just dumb. A Surface RT 7″ idea to compete with those is also a dumb idea…

  • PFinter

    I purchased a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 for my wife for Christmas. As a consumer device, it works very well. However, I really want a Win RT device for myself. I spend lots of time in MS OneNote and love the idea of using a device that is practically purpose built for it.

    Since I also have just recently updated my Laptop to Win 8 pro, I realize how little time I truly spend using x86 desktop applications (most applications I use are either on the web OR there are already acceptable Windows 8 applications.) The only thing stopping me from purchasing either a ASUS Vivotab or MS Surface RT is cost and the insecurity of if the industry will take to Win RT. I would sure hate to purchase one and find out it has become the next HP Touchpad.