Buyers not Surfacing yet for Microsoft’s tablet

According to a report from Bloomberg News, sales of Microsoft Corp.’s Surface tablet, designed to show off the potential of touch and Windows 8, are continuing to disappoint.

Citing sources at the Redmond, Was.-based software giant, the report indicated that Microsoft has sold about 1.5 million Surface tablets – over one million of the Surface RT tablets that launched last fall, and 400,000 of the Surface Pro that launched more recently. According to the sources, Microsoft hard ordered three million surfaces and expected to sell two million Surface RTs just in the December quarter.

Reaction to the tablet – intended to be a showcase for the touch-focused Windows 8 OS – has been dismissive from the OEM partners that Microsoft is now in coopetition with, and reaction form comsumers has been mixed.

A major challenge, through, has been distribution, or rather the lack thereof. Microsoft originally decided to make Surface available only directly through Microsoft, via its web store and its retail stores, cutting out its traditional reseller and retail channels. However, with Microsoft’s direct channels very limited, customers enticed by Microsoft’s extensive Surface ad campaign found it difficult to get their hands on one.

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Microsoft partially rectified this situation earlier this year by making the Surface RT and Surface Pro available through select retailers. The reseller channel, however, remains shut out, although Microsoft Canada told CDN it was “considering” bringing the Surface Pro to the reseller channel.

If these low sales figures are accurate, Microsoft may want to speed up its consideration process.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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