Report: 1.5 million Microsoft Surface Tablets sold to date

Report: 1.5 million Microsoft Surface Tablets sold to date
Since the Microsoft Surface tablets launched, first the Microsoft Surface RT and then the more expensive Microsoft Surface Pro, we've had nothing but guesses as to how the tablets did in the market. Microsoft wasn't talking, and the estimates that we received were all over the place.When the Microsoft Surface Pro launched, the 128GB version quickly sold out, followed by the 64GB unit. Some conspiracy theorists believed that Microsoft had kept the number of tablets available low so as to guarantee the sell out.

Now, we have a brand new estimate of sales from three people who do not want to be named because the sales numbers have yet to be officially released. According to the trio, more than 1 million of the Microsoft Surface RT tablets have been purchased. This is the version of the tablet that is powered by an ARM-supported chip and competes with traditional tablets like the Apple iPad and Android models. The trio also said that more than 400,000 Microsoft Surface Pro tablets have been purchased. The "Pro" tablets have "Intel Inside" and run the legacy apps from your desktop PC.

So together, the estimate is that 1.5 million Surface Tablet units have been sold, both variants combined. This might be considered a disappointment for Microsoft considering that Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS AG, said that the Redmond based tech titan had ordered 3 million Microsoft Surface RT units. Thill had expected 2 million of the tablets to be sold in the fourth quarter alone.

Does Microsoft have any game plan to try to get the Surface tablets going, or is it too late already?

source: Bloomberg via WPCentral

Related phones

Surface Pro
  • Display 10.6" 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 1 megapixel
  • Processor Intel Core i5, Dual-core, 1700 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
Surface RT
  • Display 10.6" 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Camera 1 megapixel
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30, Quad-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB



1. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

A million Surface RTs since, when, October, 2012? And 400K for the month the Pro has been available? Folks over at Apple-land must be a-smiling.

2. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

Windows Phone users talk a good game but a guess it was nothing but hot air.

3. UrbanPhantom

Posts: 949; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

The Surface is a tablet, not a smartphone Mr. Bright one. Did you even read the article?

5. Penny

Posts: 1860; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Talk a good game? Didn't realize competitive fanboyism was a sport. Clearly one you believe yourself to be very good at. You should be proud.

15. cdgoin

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 28, 2010

Hmm.. hot air..? Look at it this way. Phone 1) Android - 58% 2) Apple - 21% 3) BB - 7% 4) MS - 5% ( Again only out a bit over 2 years ago ) Tablet 1) Apple 50% (The only place they are #1 in market share and they are losing that fast to Droid) 2) Android 45% (Not a player in console or PC unless you count Chrome) 3) MS 5% (Which no one seems to count full PC style tablets.. as they use a full OS) TV Console Battle (Apple NOT a player) : 1) MS Xbox 45% 2) Nintendo 35% (Not a player anywhere else) 3) Sony 30% (Minor player in Phones (Droid), Tablet market (Droid and W8) ) PC Battle 1) MS 85% 2) Apple 10% 3) Linux 5% (Not a player anywhere else) Only constant here is MS.. and they own the PC and TV Console market. They are the only company with representation in all 4 consumer groups, and the only one with the ability within a year or twos time to leverage all four ecosystems into one complete integrated experience. Apple has been trying to get deeper in the PC world for decades and they can't, and as for consoles to little too late with Apple TV. Sony has the clout, but is split between Playstation OS, Droid and W8.. and money is getting tight. Samsung has the money, but is like Sony, not the driver of the ecosystem but the manufacturer of an ecosystem. Although they are working ona phone one. BB tablet sales are minimal, and phone sales are relying on new OS and they could falter at anytime. Google has the clout and money.. but like Apple, GoogleTV hasnt taken off BUT unlike Apple and even MS they are now being incorporated into some TVs. So is MS worried how well surface sales right now..? Yes and No. Right now WP and Surface are just laying the groundwork for a truly revolutionary change in consumer electronics. Would they love better sales, of course. But things come with time, and they have the money to be patient. As long as they have a good gameplan, (and they seem to) in the end everything will work itself out. We are not talking a small business relying on one item to make or break their business.. we are talking one of the largest with a long term game plan. The only other one that has a long term game plan and the ability to compete with MS in becoming the all in one, is Google. Android owns the Phone market and is working on the owning the tablet one, If GoogleTV takes off with TV manufacturers and can do a smartglass like thing with android phones. Then they could possibly with the Chrome OS start damaging MS there too.. There is a reason everyone says Apple may soon be feeling like its 1989.. because as MS did to them in PCs, Droid is looking to do to them in the Phone and Tablet world. The winner will be between MS and Google in the end. Who can take Phone/Tablet/TV and merge it all together. The reason being is they work WITH OEMs, they are not the OEM. Apple is acting like Sony, Beta was better, but VHS won.

24. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

This was a long read....but worth it IMO. IMO....this was a good analysis. Never looked at MS like that, you have a point. We focus on mobile here...but MS dominates the PC market and is strong in the console market.

4. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

Not good, Microsoft need to know how to market and advertise properly, because the Surface tablets deserve more consumers and attention.

7. jcpwn2004

Posts: 314; Member since: Jan 18, 2012

it's not their marketing. People compare this to the ipad at the high end and the nexus 7 at the low end. The surface is more expensive and doesn't really offer any advantages. The pro is expensive but who wants an expensive tablet? It is a lot less capable than a macbook air or other pc ultrabooks. On the low end the RT is very limited, and for just using a tablet for media consumption something like the ipad mini, nexus 7 or kindle fire are much better & cheaper options. Microsoft really needs to refocus. If microsoft really wants these to sell the RT should be ~350-400 and the pro should be about 5-600$.

9. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

But the Pro isn't a tablet you dumbass! It's a laptop! Thats stylized like a tablet!

8. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

yah not the marketing to blame, i like those dancing tablet. the problem is on the OS. the famous word is gsmarena "WP8 no games no apps" they need to provide more great and high quality apps, not being rush to the market like the BB10

11. funnyguy

Posts: 244; Member since: Jan 10, 2013

wait a second, are you talking about the windows 8 RT or windows pro tablets? because when it comes to programs ( and i am using the term programs because windows 8 and any other serious operation system runs programs not apps,witch are nothing more than downgraded and more simplistic versions of programs) NOTHING and i really mean NOTHING can beat the x86 platform.... so who needs a mobile version of a apps when i can have the full x86 version , i mean why technology is going backwords insead of going forewards ? apps and appstores are just a short period of time solution untill windows or full ubuntu or maybe even mac os tablets are availeble and vcheaper.

17. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

exactly. its about the message and educating consumers on what it is rather than what people see it as.

6. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I think Microsoft made a mistake in bringing out the surface RT out before it's Surface Pro but in the end there will be 2 main tablets on the market Place that will sell well and that will be the Apple Ipads for Tablet users that like a good General tablet and the Microsoft Windows 8 and 9 tablet PC's for those who want to do very serious work that requires the use of very complex desktop Laptop programs and PC games. Microsoft's Surface Pro is a good design but the price is too high. to make a good smooth running Windows 8 Tablet you have to use intel I5 and I7 cpu's and use ultra book components and folks most good ultra books cost 800 T0 1100 dollars so Windows tablets wont come cheap. The new AMD cpu's may make Windows 8 and later Windows 9 tablets cost less to buy.. Microsoft has already set into motion efforts to make cheaper Windows 8 Tablet PC's but the Nature of a Tablet PC will always make them sell higher than an ARMS CPU tablet because it requires a lot of CPU power to run a Full desktop OS Tablet Computer which a Microsoft Windows 8 Tablet really is. they will stay around but how many people will buy them. they may be a tablet only Professional business people need which is good for Microsoft because Microsoft makes it's Money selling services to it's big ENTERPRISE customers. Windows 8 tablets are Perfect to that crowd..

10. funnyguy

Posts: 244; Member since: Jan 10, 2013

Windows RT is garbage..... why would somebody chose to buy a arm based tablet when they can buy a intel atom one? 600 £ for a think pad 2 is a very good deal, the think pad 2 is better than the ipad and better than any android tablet. the surface is relatively a new device, just look at android tablets,they have been for such a long time in the market and still havent managed to sell well, only the nexus 7( wich is sold at cost) made some noise. just wait, is to early and i do believe microsoft should release a intel atom based tablet. it would definetaly make some noise. but microsoft is making money from everywere, even this 1.5 milion can be considered succes considering the fact that all big brands including hp,dell,lenovo and samsung are releasing windows 8 tablets tmicrosoft is making money from everywere.

13. cdgoin

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 28, 2010

Seems everyone is missing the BIG picture.. they sold 1 million RT Tablets @ average of $550 and 400K of the Pro ( @ lets call it $999) Thats a total sales of: 950 MIllion in sales.. if they make 10% profit.. after development and ad expenses. That's a profit of 95 Million. As Apple has proved, making money is the ultimate goal not leading the industry. As more people convert and have Windows 8 computers, they will sell better. Also everyone is forgetting, the Surface was in many ways a reference model. As others are using W8 RT and Pro in laptops, tablets, and convertible laptops and even tablets with docking stations. Those aren't included in the sales. Look at Best Buy.. 65% of the computers area is full of W8 products including the Surface. 25% Apple and 10% Kindle and Droid tablets. Also considering how "Bad" windows 8 is selling, currently windows 8 is about 2.6% of the PC market and growing, which is HIGHER than the market share of the current Apple OS, and Apple only owns 6% of the market when you look at ALL the Apple computers. Once everyone is comfortable with Windows8, sales of the Surface and Windows phone will pick up as they will be "familiar" to the customer. Microsoft has a long term vision and sales numbers alone are not the deciding factor right now. because one thing Windows has that Apple will never have is control of the TV box market. AppleTV hasn't taken off at all because it has the same problem MS has with phones, no "Apps". Xbox has that market cornered.. and if you think the next Xbox isnt going to be about merging W8, WP8 and the whole ecosystem you kidding yourself. The new Xbox is the true elephant in the room no one is seeing. What MS needs to do with the next Xbox though is make an interface for TV manufacturers that incorporates Xbox SmartGlass into their TVs.. Then it will all come together. It's virtually too late for Apple to come out with a gaming console, so they have lost the TV wars. My hope is the next Xbox can also be used as the DVR headunit for Cable/FiOS. See MS was visionary with the Xbox360, they didnt wast time with HD DVD or Blueray. They let sony win that battle with the PS3. But Sony lost momentum by releasing the PS3 late due to the BlueRay player. Which now is all but a moot point as no one gets BlueRay or DVDs any more, they stream via thier Xbox or PS3. So really what it comes down to is MS is investing in the ENTIRE ecosystem, which will run from phone to tablet to PC to TV.. So wins and losses in small battles mean little, its the war they are looking to win. I would say so far, so good.. BTW.. I fully expect Windows BLUE to be what the newest Xbox will run on.

14. pookiewood

Posts: 631; Member since: Mar 05, 2012


16. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

its never too late. I think Microsoft makes great products but they really must be clearer with their message and educate people on their products. With the OS being so new, they must take more time to really teach rather than advertise. Nonetheless, I think they should continue to build and sell. A snowball effect will happen once more people understand what it is Microsoft is trying to sell.

18. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Fanboy much, what great products has MS made aside from two consoles and the two tablets they recently built? Also lets not forget the red ring fiasco first few years of 360's existence. Surface/Surface Pro are not as popular because there are other less costly options and being so late to market MS isn't actually bringing anything compelling to make user say "omg this is it, this is what I really need". Seems like a throw our infinite budget at it until we flood the market, problem is they are up against some powerful players like Apple, Google and to a lesser extent Samsung.

20. Penny

Posts: 1860; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

MS Products that I think are great (including software & service products): - MS Office - Windows XP, W7 (I like W8 too, but that's more debatable so I'll leave it out) - XBox 360 - Kinect - Zune HD - Zune software - SkyDrive - Surface Tablets - MS Intellimouse - MS Sidewinder, Sidewinder X8 mice - MS Sidewinder X6 Keyboard - WP8 (at least pretty good if not great) - MSDN Service I'm sure I'm still missing some here, but these are items that come to mind that I have experience with.

21. T00muchF00D

Posts: 98; Member since: Nov 27, 2011

All I have to say is I have Surface RT and I love it. im in school using office while all the iFad users use "notepad" apps lol

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.