Technologizer

Microsoft’s 128GB Surface Pro Sells Out

How many high-end tablets did Microsoft have ready for the debut weekend, anyhow?

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When Microsoft released its first tablet, the Surface RT, back in October, details on how it sold were hard to come by, but there was no evidence it was a smash. On Saturday, the company released the Surface with Windows 8 Pro — the Surface that runs conventional Windows applications and otherwise behaves like, well, a PC — and the $999 128GB model instantly sold out.

Now, selling out, of course, is not the same thing as selling well: we don’t know how many Surface Pro units have made their way to store shelves yet. In the case of Best Buy and Staples, at least, there are reports that there haven’t been many Surface Pros to buy, period, so selling out doesn’t mean much.

But Matthew Miller of ZDNet writes that around 75 people were ahead of him in a line at his local Microsoft Store to buy Surface Pros, which counts as a throng in my book. (I don’t remember the last time I heard of 75 people lining up to buy a gadget that wasn’t an Apple product or a game console.) And the 128GB Surface Pro is also sold out on Microsoft’s site as I write this.

One thing I’m curious about: as a full-fledged PC, Surface Pro competes far more directly with the core product lines of Microsoft partners such as HP, Lenovo and Acer than the more limited Surface RT does. Surface Pro is already the highest-profile single Windows 8 computer; if it also becomes a best seller, other PC companies will presumably feel it in the pocketbook as it chips away at sales of other PCs. That will tick them off. And that could end up disrupting the PC industry in ways that Surface has not done to date.

The only way we’ll know for sure how Surface is selling is if Microsoft tells us how it’s selling. Even if the company is pleased with sales, it may not be inclined to do that: for one thing, Apple’s million-unit weekends have set the bar of blockbusterhood so high that a product can do really well and still look like a dud compared with the latest iPad or iPhone.

Absent tangible numbers, I’m going to be looking for Surface Pros in the wild — on airplanes, at conferences and other places where people engage in the sort of on-the-fly productivity that it’s designed to enable. If the Surface Pro is a hot product, it’s going to be out there in meaningful numbers.

Any predictions on its fate, especially compared with Surface RT?

7 comments
Fanfoot
Fanfoot

While I agree that PC OEMs perceptions of the two tablets may be different, anything that keeps a customer from buying one of the OEM's standard PCs or laptops is "competing" with them.  Whether that's a Windows RT tablet, a Windows Pro tablet running the same OS, or even an iPad or Google Nexus 7.  Sure as you get farther away from the Windows Pro tablet they are less good at some of the functions a regular PC is good at, like creating lots of text say, but regardless for lots of people they perform the same functions since lots of people don't need all of those functions.  I find the whole "this doesn't compete with that" thing kind of specious a lot of the time.  If it costs money, uses up hours of our limited free time, performs some or all of the same functions then it competes with a standard PC.  My iPhone competes with a standard PC in that I'm less likely to upgrade and will wait longer to do so since a) I spend a lot of time reading stuff on my iPhone and thus have less time to mess around with my PC and get frustrated by how slow it is or whatever, b) I spend some of my "disposable" income on the iPhone and thus it isn't available to spend on a PC upgrade.  Etc.  Everything competes with everything.

michael.blair
michael.blair like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I bought 2 of them, one online and one in the Yorkdale Microsoft store, both 128GB.  I already had an RT model.  The Surface is the best device I have seen, combining ultra portability with real functionality, not just reading or viewing content.  The Surface Pro is a real, powerful PC with all Windows capabilities.  The pen is terrific.  The closest rival is the Samsung ATIV PC Pro followed by the HP Envy X2 and a multitude of really good ultrabooks like the Acer Aspire S7.  Microsoft will sell  a lot of them.  And the storage issue is apocryphal - the 64GB has more free space than a 32 GB Ipad and no one complains about its storage.  Welcome to Cloud computing world

muchenjeri
muchenjeri like.author.displayName 1 Like

Is it just me or the tech blogosphere almost HOPES for the Surface Pro to fail? I don't think the success of the Surface Pro will "tick off" PC partners anymore than the Google Nexus line pisses off companies in the android sphere. I think it will challenge the industry in a good way.

VM
VM like.author.displayName 1 Like

I bought it on Saturday and am happy with the first run. But its  a bad idea for MS to combine charging port and pen holder. I almost lost my pen twice. If the Microsoft can find a way to give more memory, it will become the most popular PC/Tablet. Now Apple will definitely regret for not releasing the business user version of iPad with a USB port etc. -VM

chrisppp1991
chrisppp1991 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

People still do not get the concept of the Surface! This is going to be a slow process but it will pick up soon. Once Micrposoft fires their whole Marketing=ads department, Management=Supply and Demand forecasters and analysts. Concerning the product development department, or whatever the department is where they developed the Surfaces, they just created the best product ANYBODY has ever created to date. Yea it may have its flaws, but nothing is perfect. And its only the first version of it anyways!

Captiosus
Captiosus

@chrisppp1991 I've been waiting for them to fire their marketing department since Windows Phone 7 debuted. To this day they still have no earthly clue how to market that platform. All of their attempts come off looking as either outdated, envious, or too obscure. I see the exact same problems with the Surface ads. Lots of flashy concepts, some dubstep here and there, some celebrites extolling the virtues of the device and showing off the colorful Modern UI, but little real attempts to SELL the device to people.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a change in their marketing department.

droo46
droo46

"Absent tangible numbers, I’m going to be looking for Surface Pros in the wild..."

This. When the Macbook Pro really took off I started to see them all over my college campus. I have yet to see a Surface yet.