Microsoft sells 1.7 million Surface tablets… in 8 months

Microsoft made $853 million in revenue from the Surface and sold an estimated 1.7 million devices in eight months, according to GeekWire. That’s less than the $900 write-off the company took on the Surface two weeks ago.

Let’s put this in perspective:

  • Apple sold 3 million iPads in three days last November
  • Apple sold 14.6 million iPads in the last quarter
  • Apple sold 57 million iPads since Microsoft began selling the Surface

Sucks to be Microsoft.

  • Moeskido

    Sucks to be Microsoft in the second decade they couldn’t anticipate. Sales jocks uber alles.

    I read most of Bill Gates’ “The Road Ahead” in 1999, even after realizing (from reviews) that he’d totally failed to anticipate the importance of the Internet.

    • read most of it?

      ADHD: can’t finish things…embarrasing

      • Moeskido

        I’ve finished lots of books, but not often the ones where the writer made it clear he only had a few things to say and had to pad a lot. Gates’ ghost writer was, appropriately, just as boring as he is.

      • Torture can take many forms. Did you read the book? Were you even born when it was published?

    • You must not have read the re-released version where “…and the Internet” was added to the end of every 5th sentence.

      • Moeskido

        Correct. Got the first edition from my then-employer, who couldn’t be bothered to crack the spine.

  • Ouch. That’s not good.

  • M

    Quick correction: $900 million write-off.


    That number comes out to be $500 ASP. Which is impossible because Microsoft is giving #s for Surface Pro which is $1000+. and those silly keyboards too.

    So the #s are much worse.

    • Ron Miller

      Wow … when I first read the numbers, I thought they were for the RT only and I thought that was incredibly bad. But it seems those numbers include the Pro as well. I knew that the surface tablets were not selling well, but I didn’t realize they were that bad. Yikes!

  • Dave Brandt

    Last year Horace published a great post from the perspective of 25 years of MS and Apple history. “The Building and Dismantling of the Windows Advantage”: The last graph shows how desperate their situation really is.


    From Wikipedia. “In March 2013, Bloomberg reported from inside sources that Surface sales were behind expectations. A total of 1.5 million Surface devices had been sold since launch, with the Surface RT model only accounting for 400,000 of these sales. Microsoft had originally projected sales of 2 million Surface units during the final quarter of 2012.”

  • The White Tiger

    Kind of a shame. Both have very nice hardware (though the Pro is a little on the chunky side), and the RT seems like it should have been an inexpensive, ultra-portable Office machine– not priced as if it could go toe-to-toe with the iPad and its app selection.

    Yes, Microsoft, a USB port is well and good, but I’m only going to smirk when I plug in a printer so many times before I actually want to play a game or use an app besides Word.

    Once it drops a little further, I plan on picking up an RT and a Type cover. I had originally anticipated that happening when a refreshed Surface was released, but now I have to wonder if they’re going back to the drawing board before just swapping in some Haswell and calling it a day. And who knows what they’re thinking with Windows 8 RT?

  • Vic

    Sucks to run Microsoft RT for a tablet. Looks like Android is gaining serious traction – actually tops iOS on tablets shipped in Q2 2013 overall.

    • rattyuk

      You saw the other article about Nexus 7 “winning” in Japan? The one where they didn’t actually account for the numbers sold in Apple Stores and other places that had the ability to sell iOS devices?

    • SockRolid

      Pop quiz:

      Q1: Name one Android tablet manufacturer who makes more money selling their tablet(s) than Apple does selling iPad.

      Q2: Name one Android table manufacturer who sells more tablets than Apple sells iPads.

      Take your time. We’ll wait.

  • Winski

    HA !!!!!

  • aCandidMind

    Just what’s the reason people love to hate on Microsoft nowadays. I’m far from being a MS fanboy (dual-booting Win8 & Ubuntu), but all they’re latest products are well done. I suppose it’s just those hate campaigns and Apple evangelism that are the reason for bad sales.

    MS is currently more progressive that Apple and Google with their OSes Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

    • rattyuk

      “MS is currently more progressive that Apple and Google with their OSes Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.” Would you care to provide more information to support this statement, please?

    • PanWalter

      Great products sell. Hate campaigns don’t matter. Bad products don’t sell. End of story.

    • Moeskido

      Not entirely hate. Pity, too. Microsoft still believes the entire industry is waiting for it to enter a market late and commoditize it with half-thought-out products. That doesn’t play with consumers any more.

      What’s progressive about Windows 8? That it does two things poorly instead of one thing well?

    • I suppose it’s just those hate campaigns and Apple evangelism that are the reason for bad sales.

      Yeah. The company that still has a hammerlock on desktop OS sales is suffering from “Apple Evangelism”.

      MS is currently more progressive that Apple and Google with their OSes Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

      The botched design of the Surface and the attempt to force desktop users into a mobile UI paradigm show otherwise.

    • SockRolid

      Progressive? Windows 8? Umm, no. Reality-check time.

      Windows 8 isn’t selling all that well either. In the same town hall meeting, Ballmer said that the company is “not selling as many Windows devices as we want to.”

      And guess what the biggest-selling “Windows device” is? It’s the PC. Microsoft still depends on legacy PC software licenses. And Windows 8 just isn’t cutting it.

  • kmarcel

    Microsoft shares went up by 17% laltely while Apple shares are constantly falling since Steve is gone. I would like to be Microsoft 🙂

    • EVula

      I dunno, I’d rather not be the company that has to make a $900 million write-off and can’t move much product.

      Different strokes for different folks, though.

    • Apple shares are constantly falling since Steve is gone.

      Not Really.

      The black line is approximately when Steve Jobs died.

      AAPL Stock Price.

    • Moeskido

      Math is hard, isn’t it?

  • SockRolid

    The Microsoft brand means nothing in mobile. Surface is yet more proof of that fact.

  • Microsoft is now reaping what it sowed. They tortured their users and tried unsleepingly to force every developer and 3rd party into a Windows-only world. Only if you have suffered through Win32 documentation can you appreciate the sweet schadenfreude I feel whenever I read stories like this.

  • ayatali