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back to article Surface left on shelves as world+dog slurps up small slates

Half a million Microsoft Surface tablets may be gathering dust on shop shelves, it has been claimed. Market watcher IHS iSuppli reckons Microsoft shipped 1.25 million Surface tablets into the resale channel during Q4 2012. However, only 55 to 60 per cent of those Windows RT-based devices were purchased by punters. That means …

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Anonymous Coward

Surprisingly

What surprised me was the fact Microsoft only just missed taking the 5th position despite poor sales of the overpriced RT models. Also that B&N got the #5 accolade on such low volumes. Interesting to see what changes this year.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surprisingly

This is the big difference Apple quote SALES other people (like Microsoft) quote shipped - so the figures look better until the facts come out that half are still on the shelves / in warehouses gathering dust.

Quite different when Apple cannot build them quick enough.

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Re: Surprisingly

As the owner of a Nook Color, it is my opinion that Barnes and Noble don't deserve 5th place, they deserve 6th place. If it wasn't so easy to run CyanogenMod on these things they'd be utterly useless.

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Devil

Re: Surprisingly

As a rabid ex microsoft user, and Linux loving nut, I actually admit to the idea of really wanting one.

Like the best of the line, for $10, maybe $20.... no make that $10... fully cracked and running Linux...

That or piling up pallets of them, into a HUGE heap, outside their head quarters, and then burning the lot of them.

That and a few container ship loads of all their boxes of software.....

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Re: Surprisingly

I think you use the word 'rabid' correctly. If you truly feel this strong about a piece of IT equipment because it does not fit in with your dogma, you have a problem and should seek help.

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maybe they could stop this "only for non-commercial use but there's a separate licence" bunk

Might persuade some corporates to buy a few.

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Silver badge

I think the biggest problem RT has is that it is the word Windows in front of it. People think it is a laptop with a detachable keyboard and then the reality hits them.

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Windows 8

If microsoft had just made a dedicated OS for tablets, and a dedicated OS for desktops instead of trying to mash everything into one, then there is no doubt in my mind that both would have been superior and resulted in higher sales numbers for both Surface Tablets, and Windows 8(the desktop version)

Maybe Microsoft will start to realise this now too with the poor sales of Surface and lack of adoption of Windows 8.

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Silver badge

Re: Windows 8

Lack of apps.

The reason they shoehorned the TIFKAM into desktops is that they hope to attract more developers for it. The developers would not bother for their current market share on mobile, and the market share will not improve unless developers write apps. It's a chicken and egg problem, and they are trying to solve it by having their cash cow lay the egg. Er… Yes.

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Re: Windows 8

Why didn't they put Win Phone 8 on a Surface instead of Windows CE mark II?

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JDX
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Everyone going 7" seems a mistake to me. The original iPad form factor seems ideal to me for browsing the web and watching video without having to zoom in on smaller text.

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Anonymous Coward

Everyone going 7" seems a mistake to me.

No, those not seeing the potential in the 7" market are the ones making the mistake. That would be Microsoft, then.

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Silver badge

Everyone going 7" seems a mistake to me. The original iPad form factor seems ideal to me for browsing the web and watching video without having to zoom in on smaller text

Even though I agree with you that I think 7" is a bit small the I-pad most definitely has the wrong format for watching 16:9 or 16:10 video. The bigger screen comes with considerable added weight and as you almost always have to scroll down websites, the 16:10 format is less of a problem. The I-pad's 4:3 format does make sense in other applications but in turns out most people are using their tablets to consume media and portability and, therefore, weight is key.

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Anonymous Coward

7" is pocket size, very handy and useable in my experience but hopeless for non-simplistics apps. I've been pleased with the Nexus 7. Surface/iPad size more comfortable for lounge browsing and travel. I can imagine in a couple of years travelling around with a phone, a 7", an 11" and maybe a lightweight 16" plug in screen and its all still more portable than a laptop, main thing I'd like to see improve is the way these devices talk to each other. I expect the 11" will be a Surface Pro type device, looking ahead the days of an 11" pure play tablet like iPad 4 are numbered.

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Thumb Up

Apple was so careful to not break existing iPad apps by quadrupling the pixels for the iPad3 (and then calling it "retina", as if they had a choice). Interesting then that the new iphone is now 16:9, requiring app developers to update their apps. Good on them for recognizing the better aspect ratio and then taking the hit.

And good on them for keeping iPad's at 4:3. The aspect ratio on android tablets is what keeps me away. 4:3 8" screen with no side bezels on the mini was a brilliant choice. For everything except for youtube, 4:3 is a more natural layout.

Aside: not a fanboi; I have an android phone and no iPad. Waiting for them to chop the bezels off of the 10", or up the resolution of the mini first. Or for a properly spec'd android with a 4:3 screen.

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Silver badge

Going 7"

I have a Nexus 7 (paid for it my self) and a surface (gift).

I carry the nexus 7 with me. It's the biggest size that will fit in one hand securely and, fit in a pocket.

The surface is too big to hold in one hand securely and is quite heavy to hold for long periods. With the built in stand and add on keyboard it becomes a vastly overpriced netbook that's too top heavy and floppy to use on your lap.

I have an iPod touch 2nd gen and wanted something bigger but found the iPad to be too big. I might have bought the iPad mini if it came out last year, but I like the Nexus 7 better so I'm glad they waited.

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The aspect ration was what I liked the LEAST about my Nexus 7. Great for watching movies, but a pain for web browsing. There are things I miss about my Nexus 7, but the aspect ration is NOT one of them.

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Anonymous Coward

Smaller than 7" and it's too small to be useful - or so I have heard. Prefer my 10 incher (and so does my wife) phanarr...

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Go

I couldn't agree more

I was in a meeting yesterday and the sales director had an ipad mini with him.

He launched Salesforce.com and started commenting the numbers.

the size looked perfect for this.

Later on I had lunch with a supplier.

He was using a Nexus7. We did a bit of spreadsheet work using quickofficePro.

The format just looked cramped and weird, however as satnav he commented and I suppose to watch video .

That is was brillant.

There you have it, Work related stuff 4:3 consumption related 16:9 or 16:10

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Silver badge

Surface tries to be a Tablet and a Notebook and Windows and using ARM. So fails at everything. It might have succeeded if NOT trying to be Windows and a Tablet.

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Also

Too expensive. They will never be Apple.

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Trollface

Re: Also

I thought too expensive *was* Apple?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Also

People mistakenly say that - the S3 is about 20% cheaper than an iPhone 5 because it has to be. The new Blackberry is £30-40 less so won't sell.

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Mushroom

Fire Sale?

I mean they look nice (Like a very big Sony X1060 Walkman if you ask me) but yeah RT & Win8 is just not cricket.

Still cant fathom how they could make something so unintuitive.

I blame apple.

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Silver badge

Android now ahead?

To be fair, it's all relative - I don't recall the Register moaning about ASUS's results in Q4 2011 when they sold far less than a million. (Or consider 2007, when Apple had a measly 3.3 million over 6 months, which for phones is abysmal.) Typically new platforms (which Windows RT is) start small, the question is growth. And however much or little each sells, it's good to have choice (I'm sure Clevo don't sell that many, but that doesn't stop me liking my Clevo laptop). If people are preferring smaller tablets, we should be noting how Apple got it wrong too.

And hang on - what's Android's share? If Windows RT is small, and IOS at 43%, I make that Android now leading in non-phone tablets too.

Rather depressing to see once again, the media do the trick of stop reporting by OS, and switch to reporting by company, just to suit what makes Apple look best.

Oh, and shouldn't growth be given in change in percentage (or perhaps absolute increase in sales), and not relative growth? I mean, MS are first with infinite growth, by that measure...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android now ahead?

"Typically new platforms (which Windows RT is) start small, the question is growth."

Except they are entering a market with 2 already very dominant (and superior) competitors AND trying to flog and expensive product.

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Anonymous Coward

Hafl a Million?

Half a million Microsoft Surface tablets may be gathering dust on shop shelves

500'000? Is that a lot? Unless these things can be re-purposed what kind of $$$ loss is MSFT looking at with this gamble? Is this > $200'000'000.00 unsold stock?

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Silver badge

Re: Hafl a Million?

It's not like this is fruit 'n' veg. Worst case, even with flat growth this quarter, they just pause production and sell the rest in time. Not sure what profit they make per device, but even at just £10 a device - well, let's just say that I wish my so-called "failures" net me £10 million.

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FAIL

Re: Hafl a Million?

It's actually WORSE than f'n'v - it was way more expensive to 'grow' and it might will never sell so they might end up taking it back, they cannot feed the pigs with it or use it for compost etc.

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Anonymous Coward

so-called "failures"

Well then, here is a ready made $200'000'000.00 kickstarter project.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hafl a Million?

That's assuming they are making a profit or don't have to drop the price so much to shift them they end up making a loss.

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Bronze badge

Re: Hafl a Million?

let's just say that I wish my so-called "failures" net me £10 million

It is conceivable that there were some development costs for the Surface which Microsoft might like to recover. The net profit on the marginal cost of the devices is hardly the end of the story.

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A few doing solitary in every department store

The only Surface tablets I've seen in the flesh have all been sitting on glass cases inside department store tech departments. No label other than a 12pt price tag, no view of a box, no floor advertising, and no way of trying it even if you can locate someone with a key for cabinet.

It's several rungs of unwantedness below the shelves of ultrabooks and Windows 8 laptops that are all stuck on the login screen or which have had the desktop disabled, no internet access and the usual list of sales presentation problems that we've all seen for decades.

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"...ultrabooks and Windows 8 laptops that are all stuck on the login screen..."

Better than some stores where they are all without power, but have a stupid plastic sticker on the screen with a representation of what the OS might look like. The sales droids will not power them up.

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Devil

Re: "...ultrabooks and Windows 8 laptops that are all stuck on the login screen..."

That's to make them look good- imagine if they *were* powered up...

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FAIL

Microsoft in channel stuffing shocker.

Nothing new here. Every new hardware product, they stuff the channel to make numbers look what shareholders expect.

The idiots are those than believe it...

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Facepalm

The other 500,000

where all used in those pointless adverts that tell you absolutely nothing about the product.

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Happy

Original mistake to build lap-tabs was Apple's

Lap-tabs were always inferior to light laptops with long lived batteries that would not burn your leg while you sat somewhere comfortable. iPads are much better than laptops, but useless while being held in one hand while walking about. MS just doubled down on Jobs mistake.

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Re: Original mistake to build lap-tabs was Apple's

That's why the iPad mini is doing so well. Just had one of the people I support come back from an Apple iPad training class. She told me she was the only one in the class that DIDN'T have an iPad Mini.

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Gimp

Re: Original mistake to build lap-tabs was Apple's

I've got to ask, what is an "Ipad Training Class" ?

What level of intellect is required in order to attend such a class ?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Original mistake to build lap-tabs was Apple's

Please, make my shallow chauvinistic male anti PC day, is this Ipad Training Class in Essex, are they Blond?

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What shelves

Not seen a single surface in any shop in the uk ....if the product is not there no-one will buy it

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Gold badge

Re: What shelves

MS only put them in shops the week before Christmas. Which is madness if you ask me! So it's actually quite impressive they sold any at all. Before that, they were trying to sell them online. I did see one switched off in John Lewis on Christmas Eve, and my brother said he's been in there the day before and an MS sales bloke had shown him it working, with the keyboard. But he bought an iPad the next week anyway... Oops.

I've already got an iPad 3, I just wanted a play. If they have a fire sale, I might go for it anyway. But I'm also massively tempted by a Nexus 7, for no good reason other than "shiny".

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Anonymous Coward

give me a firesale

and a MS-proof way to load a NORMAL Windows (ok, Android will do), and I will turn this jellyfish into a world's top best seller! :D

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Samsung Win 8 slate

It may not be all bad news for Win 8, at least the non-rt version. I bought a samsung ativ smart pc over christmas and quite like it. But I didn't really get the point of RT, I wanted a slate I could use my laptop software on, I wanted an active digitizer for art and handwritten notes, and it was only $50 more than the Windows RT Surface. Frankly, given the price difference, I'm not really sure why someone would buy the Surface Pro coming in a few weeks over the Samsung either. It may be the future of Win 8 is on Samsung, not MS.

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Re: Samsung Win 8 slate

I hadn't heard of these devices, but the reviews indicate that it's limited to 2GB RAM and the processor is rather limited.

I'd probably want the more costly Pro edition (4GB/i5/64GB) to compete with the Surface Pro and then the price differential starts disappearing.

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Re: Samsung Win 8 slate

Yes, it may be the Surface Pro is a more competitive machine. I was a bit leery of the ativ's specs, but all I can say is that its performance has been much better than I suspected; it runs all my drawing apps (including Illustrator CS6) fine (at least if you only have one open at a time), and that 9 hours of battery life is awesome.

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Re: Samsung Win 8 slate

I suppose it may be worth a warning for some people thinking about a Win 8 slate as a graphics slate. While as I've said I'm generally quite happy with mine, whoever made the decision to remove "Restore Previous Versions" from Windows 8 in favor a network share based solution should be shot. It's a slate OS fer chrissake! My laptop and its CAT 6 is my network share machine. Other than the loss of the function of "restore previous versions" functionality I'm happen. But that bit sucks, bit time.

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Re: Samsung Win 8 slate

What are the RT machines like for talking to cameras and the like?

I just haven't found any useful scenario-based documents or videos for RT except for the "I like sliding coloured tiles around like an ADD crack-addict" scenario.

Can one purchase and download music from the net?

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