John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Surface Makes Microsoft a Top 5 Tablet Vendor … With 1.8 Percent Market Share

“I don’t think anybody has done a product that is the product that I see customers wanting. You can go through the products from all those guys … and none of them has a product that you can really use. Not Apple. Not Google. Not Amazon. … [Surface] is a first-class tablet that people can enjoy and appreciate. It’s a PC; it’s a tablet. It’s for play; it’s for work. It’s got a great price. That product doesn’t exist today.”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Microsoft is now one of the Top 5 tablet vendors worldwide, thanks to its Surface RT and Surface Pro devices — but not because either one is selling particularly well.

Research firm IDC says Microsoft shipped about 900,000 Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets in the first quarter of the year. That was enough to claim a fifth-place ranking on IDC’s latest worldwide tablet tracker, but with a very low percentage of the tablet market — just 1.8 percent.

That’s a pretty poor showing for a device that has been available since last October, though, to be fair, the Surface Pro didn’t begin shipping in North America until February. That late start almost certainly hampered sales.

That said, Microsoft shipped “just shy” of 900,000 Surface units last quarter, according to IDC, so the availability of the Pro version of the device doesn’t seem to have done all that much for sales. With both the Pro and the RT on the market, Microsoft’s tablet sales don’t even begin to come close to market leaders like Apple and Samsung, which shipped 19.5 million and 8.8 million tablets, respectively.

Not that anyone expected them to. Surface is a latecomer in a highly competitive market dominated by a company with a massive first-mover advantage. Still, you’d think that if Surface really did hit the sweet spot that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer described in the quote above, shipments would be a wee bit higher, no? Clearly, the company has got a lot of work ahead of it if it hopes to change users’ expectations for tablets.

Microsoft, which has not yet disclosed any Surface sales data or guidance, did not respond to a request for comment.


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