Last week Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated that initial sales of the Surface tablet have been ‘modest’, though Microsoft quickly spun that to be about other stuff such as their approach and so on and focused more on the ‘Pro’ version. At the same time, just after the initial release of the Surface complaints started coming in about build quality and fraying of the cover material and other issues.
Further clarifications have shown that what Ballmer said was simply poorly worded and really was about their approach … but for many the image of ‘modest sales’ remains. This, along with reports of several large Windows hardware partners not planning their own Windows RT tablets, isn’t exactly the most comforting news for those unsure about buying one of the cool looking new devices.
Now we have some further anecdotal evidence from DigiTimes, saying that Microsoft is unlikely to do better than 60% of already ‘modest’ targets:
Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet may see sales of only 60% of the company’s forecast by the end of 2012 and the device is also expected to have difficulty achieving a good performance during the year-end holidays, according to sources from upstream component suppliers.
The sources pointed out that Surface RT, as well as Asustek Computer’s Windows RT-based tablets, do not have an advantage in terms of a price/performance ratio, while Windows RT’s lack of supporting software from the previous Windows system and can only use software downloaded from the Windows Store has greatly reduced the attraction to consumers.
The sources believe that notebook vendors’ Windows 8-based tablets will benefit from the Surface RT’s weaker-than-expected sales as their products will face one less competitor in the Windows-based tablet market.
Time will tell if the report is true, but Microsoft is in this for the long haul – and I think that ‘modest sales’ will actually be more attractive to hardware partners than dominating results. Windows isn’t going away, so if these is money to be made setting Windows RT devices, we will continue to see them come out!
What do you think? Poor initial results or too early to call?