updated 05:24 am EST, Thu January 31, 2013
Microsoft limits initial run of Surface Pro to just 1 million
Microsoft has ordered only 1 million units of its Surface Pro for its launch on February 9, according to Digitimes. Upstream supply chain sources say that initial orders for the Intel-powered version of the Surface are well down on the initial orders Microsoft placed for the ARM-based Surface RT when it launched. The news coincides with analysis from IHS iSuppli supplied to CNET showing that Microsoft may have only sold as many as 750,000 Surface RT tablets for the last quarter.
According to IHS iSuppli, Microsoft may not have placed many orders for the Surface RT for the current quarter as it tries to run down its inventory, which could be as high as 2 or more million units. Further complicating matters for Microsoft, IHS iSuppli analysis suggests that return rates for the Surface RT are also running relatively high. "If you put the high return rate together with low sell-through rate, that's indicative of a problem," said analyst Rhoda Alexander.
By comparison, Apple sold 22.9 million iPads during the same quarter, leaving Microsoft's Surface trailing far behind in its wake. While the Surface RT offer more out of the box productivity than an iPad, with its inclusion of Word, PowerPoint and Excel at no extra charge, it has been a confusing proposition for consumers. Its dual UI, lack of an Outlook email client and its inability to run legacy Windows applications have been cited as reasons for this.
The Surface Pro addresses these perceived shortcomings, however, this comes at the expense of added thickness, weight and half the 10-hour batter life of its stablemate. If accurate, the Digitimes report suggests that Microsoft is not confident that the demand for the Surface Pro will be any greater and that it has moderated its sales expectations for the hardware. Adding to its challenges, it has also been revealed that the available user storage on the Surface Pro will also be severely constrained.
The Surface Pro will retail at $899 for the 64GB model and $999 for the 128GB model.