IHS iSuppli: Microsoft Surface RT Sales Low, Returns High



+ Add a Comment


"If you put the high return rate together with low sell-through rate, that's indicative of a problem," she told CNET. "It seems to be linked in a lot of cases to a steep learning curve of the OS -- which is not necessarily intuitive.”

That pretty much says it all! I predicted Windows 8 was so bad that people would return their PC/laptop/tablet because it doesn't work.

LOL! And more to come!



To me, tablets are nothing more than toys.

I am actually very interested in the surface pro which is supposed to be a full featured PC in tablet size ( a little thicker though ) for the purpose of having something very portable that can help me make more productive use of my free time.

An ultrabook might be another option, but the tablet aspect is more appealing when doing activities that only require reading.

I dont know of any other table with the full feature set.



I'd say sales are bad because you can't buy it anywhere! it was only recently that Best Buy and Staples started carrying it - long after the hype machine died off.



Wait, you mean people don't want a tablet that's incompatible with every single popular OS out there? Go figure.



I suspect the returns are from people who thought they were getting the full windows experience. I suspect sales are bad because 1. people that know it's a gimped version of Windows don't want it and 2. people can spend the same money or less on an iPad or Android tablet that is already familiar and has a mature ecosystem.

I don't even think the Surface Pro makes any sense. It's $1000 and you can't even use it on your lap. Just buy an Ultrabook at that point.



I think what turned me away from it was the fact that I had to buy a $120 keyboard to use it the way I wanted to. It's just too damn expensive overall.



For me, I'm getting the Surface Pro (or competitor's equivalent). I see no reason to get the restricted RT when I can get a fully vetted Android tablet with more apps and more options.



I have had my Surface RT since day one and it does everything I want in a tablet AND prints easily to any wireless printer I have tried to print to, something the other tablets just can't seem to do right.

The 10" Asus is $500 and the square iPad is $500 so I don't see the price as an issue.

The issue is that the sales channel is way too narrow and the concerted effort by the Apple world to kill a real competitor before it takes off are holding Surface back. Apple fanboys are desperate to make everyone think it is horrible when those of us who own them know better.

Every friend I know that has an iPad I have shown them my Surface RT and how to use it. All of them have said it looks better than what they have and half of them want one.

Surface RT is a quality product that does everything a tablet user needs and most of the things a netbook user needs. I gave my netbook away a month after I got my Surface RT. Believe what you want, I have the empirical evidence, not forum spew from haters and fakers.



Of the friends you showed how many had the new one with Retina display? Because if they had the iPad 3 or below of course your tablet is going to look better.

I'm not an Apple fanboy, but some "facts" have to be fully disclosed in order for me to believe them.

The price alone on the Surface is a barrier. As most others have said, at $1000 you can do so more more than buy a tablet which is going to be limited in function.

Of course, it depends on what you going to use it for but still a ultra book or cheap laptop will have more versatility than a tablet, especially at $1000.



"...I have the empirical evidence..."

Still waiting on that.



It does seem like there's confusion surrounding that word.



Well said.



I can think of a few reasons why the RT tablets are not doing well.

1. Poor tutorial. When the OS first boots up, it shows you one picture of how to use the charm bar on the right side. It needs to show more. Show all four sides of the screen and what each one does. Show how tiles work. Show how to move them around. I figure it out on my Windows 8 tablet, but I had to actually look online to know how to do some things with the tiles. Users should not have to do this. In stores where these tablets are sold, the displays should have diagram near them illustrating how the new touch functions work.

2. Crowded ARM market. There are already a lot of ARM-based tablets out there that do everything a Windows RT tablet can do. They're also cheaper in many cases. Windows RT tablets seem to get lost in the mix. They're not bad machines. In fact, I find the tiled interface to be the best touchscreen interface I have used. Sadly for MS, competition is very high.

3. No x86 software. When a person uses a Windows tablet and they see a desktop, they assume they can install whatever they want. Being told that is not the case and that the desktop is basically just for file management can be very off-putting to a potential buyer. One advantage the Windows 8 x86 tablets bring to the market is x86 software compatibility. People see Windows and they think "desktop software." By bringing out this ARM version of Windows, Microsoft is not leveraging their x86 advantage.

I am a fan of Windows 8, especially on a touch screen. I own a Samsung Windows 8 x86 tablet and it is amazing. I don't think Windows RT tablets are useless, but in the shadow of Windows 8 x86 tablets, Windows RT feels a little redundant.



I own 6 pc's, and don't own a tablet. When I do buy one, it will be an Android one for $150 to $200. At the prices for the Surface RT, it is more money than a cheap notebook, with less functionality.



Just don't waste your money on the Kindle Fire. It's not the same as a full fledged Android tablet.



I have a company issued RT and really like the OS. It's quick and agile and works as advertised. I actually like the gestures and OS navigation better on the RT than my iPad2. In my opinion, I think people are returning it because there aren't enough essential apps available yet. For example, I can't get a VPN client for Cisco, Juniper or Avential. That's one of the reasons I still can't rid myself of the iPad2 just yet. So yeah, if I pad for it expecting to work remotely over a VPN, I'd be returning it to if I didn't have the luxury of waiting for them to develop one.



A full version would be nice...

But so many people already HAVE tablets. And the people who don't are undecided on whether they want one or need one. Apple and Android have a good niche covered with easy to use tablets. Microsoft is entering the game with tablets that are either hacked or full fledged Windows copies. I'm not sure if enough people are ready for that.

This all being said... I will buy a surface pro if it is a full fledged Windows, has a keyboard dock, and has 10 hour+ battery life.



Yeah, just waiting for the pro. I like the look of them, just would rather have a real version of Windows 8. ^_^


Paper Jam

Windows RT is unnecessary. MS should have merged WP8 and RT, and used that OS for their tablet and smartphone strategy. Having WP8 for touchscreen smartphones, WinRT and Win8 for touchscreen tablets, and Win8 for touch and nontouch desktops/laptops seems needlessly complicated. Especially since the plan seems to be to unify their various platforms.

And RT should have been a lot cheaper. That's how Android squeezed into the tablet market. You have to establish yourself in the market before you can make money. And it doesn't help that Metro is ugly.



This makes the most sense to me. MS is already fighting a battle trying to make WP8 relevant, and they're further along in that that with the W8 UI ecosystem. The Surface RT just feels like the worst of both worlds between Surface Pro and WP8. Expensive closed system with limited options, weak specs, and poor App market. We made fun of the iPad being a giant iPhone, but it makes sense when it's built on the same ecosystem. The MS Surface RT is just stillborn.



The Windows 8 Start screen would look better if it looked more like the Window Phone OS. I like how the tiles are all one color on Windows Phones (aside from a few of the Live Tiles). The unified look makes it seem like a more "serious" OS, whereas Windows 8 looks a bit tacky.



Agreed. That would have made perfect sense! But then again, it's Microsoft we're talking about. One step forward, two steps back...



+1. Now if only M$ had a brain. (Insert Scare Crow Singing)



There is nothing wrong with Win8 Pro, Win RT or Win8 Phone...so I'd say all those who insist on blaming the OS are simply letting their anti-Win8 feelings run wild.

No, the problem with Surface RT is that it costs more than comparable featured tablets that run iOS or Android. Plain and simple.

Now. Whether Surface Pro makes any money for MS remains to be seen, but I don't think MS's purpose in building these tablets is to make a bunch of money. I think their purpose is to spur other manufactures to build those devices and toward that purpose, I'd say they've succeeded.


Paper Jam

I think you got it right on the cost. MS should be selling RT cheap to help establish the platform. It's too unfamiliar to go head to head with the iPad and too expensive to compete with the Android tablets that have been successful. MS shouldn't be worried about pushing OEMs into making better products and should be worried about giving people reasons to want their OS.

And IMO, MS should have merged WP8 and RT to keep it more distinct from Windows 8. RT being visually identical to but functionally handicapped from Win8, and also being just as expensive as the market leading iPad, makes it redundant and unnecessary. A cheaper WP8/RT platform could gain some traction. I would give it a look, even though I really hate the Metro UI. A Pro tablet at or bellow the cost of iPad might even make me look twice, but that is another topic.



You meant "M$ should GIVE AWAY RT for FREE", don't you? There's no way it can compete with Android (which is free)... They should have swallowed the loss and make this one available for free (like they did with a little piece of software called Internet Explorer, back in the day), and would have recouped their losses thanks to brand recognition and carefully-built customer loyalty.



Lower the price then maybe I'll buy.



Perhaps everyone’s waiting for the Surface Pro and its full PC experience. What do you think?

I think Microsoft got greedy and tried to release a new OS too soon. Instead of working to improve Windows-7, they released a new OS that was of interest only to a small subset of the market.

Is there some value to Windows-8? Undeniably, yes!

I think most people, however, would have been happier had Windows-7 received some attention and had they been given the OPTION of installing Metro (Windows-7 supports touch screens). There was no need to make a whole new operating system, effectively abandoning a product many people invested in less than 4 years ago.

WindowsXP enjoyed a near six year run before Vista was released, and it continued to be popular for another six years beyond that (much to the chagrin of Microsoft). Windows 7 eventually supplanted XP, but only because it was a stable upgrade (which Vista was not) that offered new technology and access to hardware XP lacked (SSD's under XP are problematic at best).

What Microsoft (IMHO) has failed to realize with Windows-8 is that being able to boot one's PC 8 seconds faster is of far less value to most users than knowing that Microsoft will continue to support the products in which users are invested. Also, while great on a tablet, a touch-screen interface on a desktop PC is of value to almost no-one. Microsoft could have easily killed one of the primary complaints people have about "8" simply by making use of Metro optional without requiring third-party software to disable it.

People recognize greed and, in general, react negatively to it.




I Agree. Now, they'll have to lower the prices, so that these paperweights can actually have some appeal.

They basically crippled themselves with Windows Hate (8).


Paper Jam

I agree with almost everything you said, except the part about releasing too soon. I think they felt it was necessary. MS is betting the farm on their UI being presented across all their platforms. This is, IMO, almost solely for the benefit of their mobile platform. They need people to buy into WP8. They waited too long to innovate and now they are way behind. Windows owns the desktop/laptop market and that isn't likely to change for a long time, no matter how much they change the UI. But in the mobile sector they have become nearly nonexistent. And they can't stand watching Apple and Google cashing in while they sit on the sideline.



Anyone not see this coming?... Anyone?



sad but true.



I think it's just an example of how much a turd the OS is, coupled with a dearth of apps for the ARM version of Windohs compared to mature platforms like iOS and Android.

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.