Microsoft needs to reexamine its Surface RT/Pro strategy.
Redmond, we have a problem. Citing "people with knowledge of [Microsoft's] sales," Bloomberg is reporting Surface tablet shipments in the neighborhood of just 1.5 million units, indicating a lethargic start for the company's foray into modern day tablets. This isn't what Microsoft envisioned when it redesigned and re-imagined Windows specifically with touchscreen devices in mind.
Microsoft's other gamble was the risk of alienating its hardware partners, though if Surface sales are truly as low as what's being reported, OEMs have little to fear. Acer in particular made sure to voice its displeasure with Microsoft's Surface strategy, and on more than one occasion warned the company that competing in the hardware space isn't a cakewalk. It's more like eating hard rice, Acer said.
"It's pretty clear that things were bad entering the year, and at least for the moment they're getting worse," Alex Gauna, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC, told Bloomberg. "The path to a successful Surface, in the same way that they were successful with Xbox, is not very clear to me right now."
Nor is it clear to Microsoft, which isn't presenting much of a threat to Apple's iPad. For the sake of comparison, Apple sold 22.9 million iPads last quarter, and accounted for over half of the 128.3 million tablet worldwide tablet shipments in 2012, according to data by International Data Corporation (IDC).
Microsoft isn't alone here. Windows tablets from other players aren't jumping off of store shelves, though that doesn't come as any consolation to Microsoft, whose software is the centerpiece of these devices.