bit-tech.net

Microsoft sees strong sales for Surface successor

Microsoft sees strong sales for Surface successor

Microsoft's Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro tablets are selling out already, as the company appears to have succeeded in addressing many of the criticisms levelled at their predecessors.

Microsoft may be on to something with its Surface product family after all, with early indications being that the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro devices are selling far faster than their predecessors.

Part of outgoing chief executive officer Steve Ballmer's vision to turn Microsoft from a lumbering software giant into an agile 'products and services company,' the Surface range is almost unheard of in the company's long history: Microsoft entering into direct competition with its own customers. The launch of the Windows RT-based Surface and more powerful Windows 8-based Surface Pro tablets was a gamble, and one that didn't seem to pay off: angered, Microsoft's own customers began to shelve plans to launch Windows RT products of their own while buyers roundly ignored Surfaces - leading directly to a near-billion-dollar write-down in the company's ledger.

Once pricing had been reduced, however, the Surface devices began to sell - and that small glimmer of hope was enough for Microsoft to forge ahead with a second generation of Surface tablets, with rumours suggesting that a third generation is waiting in the wings even now.

The Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro tablets showed that Microsoft was listening to feedback: its integrated kickstand was revised to allow for easier use on a lap, the optional keyboard covers were modified to include backlighting for easier use at night, and the Surface 2 received a high-resolution display while the Surface 2 Pro enjoys a 75 per cent boost to its battery life - one of the biggest complaints, alongside the high original selling price, levied against its predecessor.

Initial indications are that listening works, too: according to anonymous 'internal sources' speaking to Neowin, Microsoft is receiving pre-orders for its latest-generation tablets faster than it can fulfil them. The Surface 2 64GB, Surface 2 Pro 256GB and 512GB, plus selected colours of Type Cover and the new Arc Mouse accessory, are all claimed to be on back-order - meaning initial production runs have been sold out.

That's a far cry from the launch of the original Surface devices, and suggests that Microsoft could be on to a winner this time around - although questions still remain regarding the long-term sustainability of the Windows RT platform, which has been roundly ignored by Microsoft's OEM and ODM partners. With Microsoft refusing to release firm figures, there's also the question of just how large that initial production run really was; eager to avoid another expensive write-down, it's entirely possible the company reduced its orders accordingly until it could properly gauge consumer interest.

15 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
VipersGratitude 3rd October 2013, 23:28 Quote
Surely the assertion that the Surface 2 is selling faster than the original Surface is based entirely assumption initial production volumes were equal (which isn't stated in either article). Is it possible these anonymous inside sources are actually PR men, spinning the facts to inflate the perceived popularity of the device?
GoodBytes 4th October 2013, 04:17 Quote
I am confident that the Surface 2 and Pro 2 will sale well.
It's not going to be Apple sales, but I expect it to be miles better than the first.

And it seams to do so:
http://blog.surface.com/b/surface/archive/2013/10/02/the-time-is-now-pre-order-your-surface-device-and-accessories.aspx

Why?
-> Every, single, issue that either devices had has been fixed with version 2.
-> Windows RT got much more polished, and actually runs well even on the version Surface 1. So with Tegra 4 now on board, the device is expected to be butter smooth even on intense situation, something that even Android tablet can't really do for many models out there.
-> Full range of accessories., and improved current ones.
-> "Pass the test of time". Gen 1, and fairly new territory for Microsoft, the end product problem free. This is big. Usually you always have some big issue. This shows that Microsoft actually did its best, serious about it, and makes a solid product. Basically, people will have more faith toward it.
-> Proper "global" simultaneous release.
Snips 4th October 2013, 10:43 Quote
I know Microsoft are damned if they do and equally damned if they don't. However, I think the recent changes made not only to Surface have been well thought out and the feedback taken onboard fully.

I've seen a lot of sniggering at them for making the changes people have asked for, even ridicule that they've made massive "U-turns" which other companies like Google and Apple just wouldn't do.

Whether that's right or wrong, I'm probably not the best to answer that. All I'll say is, I own a SurfaceRT and the changes I've read about although I never really felt were urgent and priority, I'm surprised they've done them so quickly and thoroughly.
Yslen 4th October 2013, 12:14 Quote
The first Surface (RT) was also on back order, but initial sales weren't particularly good. They just have a low quantity available prior to launch so that all the press reports say it's already sold out. Job done.

That said, the Pro was already a nice product, the battery life improvements make it more attractive. I'd never buy the RT as the whole point of Windows is that it's Windows.
Corky42 4th October 2013, 14:06 Quote
Quote:
meaning initial production runs have been sold out

Well if the initial production run was only a 100 units then that's really bad, on the other hand if it was 1-2 million that's really good. Sadly with out actual numbers, being sold out means nothing.
Gareth Halfacree 4th October 2013, 14:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Well if the initial production run was only a 100 units then that's really bad, on the other hand if it was 1-2 million that's really good. Sadly with out actual numbers, being sold out means nothing.
Sure it does: it means that it's selling better than Microsoft expected. No company in the world would deliberately under-produce for launch: you're basically turning down money. Likewise, you don't over-produce: that way lies $900 million write-downs, as Microsoft knows all too well. You aim to produce exactly what you need - and, in this case, it looks like Microsoft underestimated demand.
fdbh96 4th October 2013, 17:18 Quote
One of the problems MS has that RT doesn't have any advantages really over the ipad than Office which for most people doesn't matter as a 10.1" screen and a pretty naff keyboard hardly adds up to a productive tablet.

If they'd used a intel bay trail processor then I'd imagine it would sell even better as people could run current windows programs on it, something the ipad can't do (without streaming).
Snips 4th October 2013, 18:29 Quote
You are comparing Apples and Oranges which has been discussed over and over since the launch last year. If you actually used both you would see the advantages.
GoodBytes 4th October 2013, 18:33 Quote
Actually, it's ideal for school and work.
You have the full Office suit including OneNote and Outlook. Both are used in business environment, and Onenote for school (for student that know how to take notes, in any csase, you have Word), all full version.

The 1080p screen allows you to actually do work done. And the keyboard, based on user feedback of the Surface 1, is not bad (type cover). Many assume that it will be like Netbooks, but from what I tried at the store with the type cover, it felt way better then a netbook, because: the keyboard is of way better quality than netbooks. And the device is a bit bigger than most netbooks (at the lest the one I touch), as it's not the device that is 10.6inch, but the screen... the device is more of an ~11inch, so the keyboard is large, and edge to edge, which helps having a decent typing experience. Now, i have to admit, the size comparison is visual, I didn't check actual dimensions and compared side by side, so I could be wrong, and fell into some sort of optical illusion, just something to keep in mind. Not to mention, the screen resolution, where even if you put 150% DPI setting on the Surface, it's still larger work area than netbooks.

Also, Snips is correct.
Blackshark 4th October 2013, 18:48 Quote
I met up with a colleague at Uni last week for a 1 day conference and he was 100% paper free with a Surface (1) pro. He had spent the time to learn Metro, knew all the tricks in terms of touch interface and I felt like a dinosaur. So I am extremely tempted by the Surface 2 pro. The only thing holding me back is the mark up on the larger SSDs and the difficulty of replacing them myself. Well done MS - Apple is quickly going to lose a lion share of its iFad market (business) plus its phones sales will stay stale with little growth.
Nexxo 4th October 2013, 19:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdbh96
One of the problems MS has that RT doesn't have any advantages really over the ipad than Office which for most people doesn't matter as a 10.1" screen and a pretty naff keyboard hardly adds up to a productive tablet.

If they'd used a intel bay trail processor then I'd imagine it would sell even better as people could run current windows programs on it, something the ipad can't do (without streaming).

I own a Surface RT and I disagree. The screen is ideal for side-by-side multitasking, and the right ratio for video. In portrait mode you can see a full A4 page and have room left at the bottom for on-screen text input (handwriting recognition means I simply scribble on that area and it appears as printed text in the document above). The TouchCover works well enough for typing on the go.

This morning I took it into work. I tethered it to my mobile and worked on documents that are stored in SkyDrive. Came back home, and picked up right where I had left off, on my desktop machine.

Throughout, I'm enjoying 100% compatibility with all office files. Since I have jailbroken my Surface, I am also running desktop programs, including 7Zip, Audacity (good for recording sessions) and Paint.Net for image processing.

Of course it has a full browser with Flash, and with Windows RT 8.1 also WebGL, so you can play games inside the browser. It has email, and since RT8.1 full-fat Outlook. What more do you need? Sure, iPad has a lot of shiny apps and games, and they are all very pretty. But the Surface RT? For me it's the best of both worlds: the light-weight, compact, instant-on all-day-battery life convenience of a tablet with the sit-down-to-work practicality of a laptop.
GoodBytes 4th October 2013, 19:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackshark
I met up with a colleague at Uni last week for a 1 day conference and he was 100% paper free with a Surface (1) pro. He had spent the time to learn Metro, knew all the tricks in terms of touch interface and I felt like a dinosaur. So I am extremely tempted by the Surface 2 pro. The only thing holding me back is the mark up on the larger SSDs and the difficulty of replacing them myself. Well done MS - Apple is quickly going to lose a lion share of its iFad market (business) plus its phones sales will stay stale with little growth.

I agree. I saw 2 student at university, one with the Surface 1, and the Pro 1, and they their notes looked kick-ass, clean and super organized. I never saw them fight with the interface, or have any issue with either device. This is where it made me sold on the idea even further, making me assured that I really need this device.
Corky42 4th October 2013, 19:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
You aim to produce exactly what you need - and, in this case, it looks like Microsoft underestimated demand.

Or do you, did they ?
Microsoft: Surface 2 and Pro 2 'close to selling out' -- but is it really?
Quote:
In business perception is everything, and supply shortages generate blogs and news stories and the appearance that the product is super hot-in-demand.
fdbh96 4th October 2013, 20:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
You are comparing Apples and Oranges which has been discussed over and over since the launch last year. If you actually used both you would see the advantages.

I have actually had the chance to use both and I stand by my opinion. While I do agree that the surface pro is a fantastic product, the surface (RT) is hardly an exact opposite to the iPad.

iPad has onenote, and all iWork apps are fully compatible with office documents. One thing iOS surely needs is multitasking support but the new version in ios 7 is better as you can see into each app in the multitasking view which helps.

What I'm trying to say really is that you can get tablets like the asus vivopad that run non RT windows and is the same price, the only thing it lacks is a HD screen but I saw somewhere that there are similair tablets coming with hd screens and bay trail processors for a similair price.

http://www.asus.com/uk/Tablets_Mobile/ASUS_VivoTab_Smart/
Nexxo 4th October 2013, 21:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdbh96
iPad has onenote, and all iWork apps are fully compatible with office documents. One thing iOS surely needs is multitasking support but the new version in ios 7 is better as you can see into each app in the multitasking view which helps.

I'm not convinced. On the Surface RT I have the full experience: Office as I'm used to using it. Keyboard. Trackpad. Mouse if I want it. No worries about compatibility, or how formatting translates. It's Office. The real deal. It's no different from working on my desktop PC.
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums