Initial Sales for Microsoft Surface Tablet Described as ‘Modest’


After a large company releases a much-anticipated new product, the public relations department should have time to rest and enjoy a job well done; unless of course you do this job for Microsoft. Ballmer is at it again, using the wrong words in the wrong place at the wrong time and describing sales of their new Surface tablet to Le Parisien as “modest.” Although that isn’t quite what he meant… apparently.

Ballmer went on to discuss how he expects sales to “ramp up quickly” and tried to generate enthusiasm over the higher-powered Surface Pro version of their tabled that has “a higher-resolution screen and [is] powered by a new Intel processor.” Not surprisingly, Ballmer made no reference to the equally ‘higher-powered’ price-tag that is expected to accompany these increased specifications.

Microsoft’s official statement (regarding Ballmer’s not-so-official statement):

“When asked about Surface, Steve’s use of the term “modest” was in relation to the company’s approach in ramping up supply and distribution of Surface with Windows RT, which has only been available via our online store and certain Microsoft retail stores in the U.S. While our approach has been modest, Steve notes the reception to the device has been “fantastic” which is why he also stated that “soon, it will be available in more countries and in more stores.”

Loosely translated, I think it means that ‘Steve’ shouldn’t be allowed to speak in public ever again.

Once we see the official sales figures we should know more, but Microsoft certainly isn’t seeing the kinds of sales successes that Apple has with over 2 million iPad Mini tablets sold in the first week alone.


  • alamarco

    The Surface will sell once they release the Intel version. I think it was a dumb move for them to sell this RT version because most people will be waiting.

  • why would anyone bother with the intel version? yah it runs full win8 but they’re also currently carrying shitty specs for ridiculously high prices. i mean seriously, 4gb of ram? what kind of ‘pro’ applications would anyone be using on it? certainly not any CAD/photoshop/etc etc programs.

  • WestCoastStar

    I can’t see anyone buying a surface when there is so much better out there. Maybe in a year but now it’s not quite an iPad or a Nexus.

  • alamarco

    I don’t know, maybe because you can run all the applications you use on a laptop on the Intel version.

    Shitty specs for ridiculously high prices? We aren’t talking about the iPad here are we? What is Apple known for all these years? Oh right, that’s shitty specs and ridiculously high prices.

    If you think the Surface is “ridiculously priced” and the iPad isn’t, then you just aren’t thinking clearly.

  • The biggest benefit of the Intel version is for enterprise customers that still rely on custom apps that can only be run in classic desktop mode. The Intel version of Surface gives them a bridge between running their old apps and being able to run new ones. Plus, the Intel version of Surface can run full Office 2013 – as in you can run VBA code, macros, full Outlook. Plus the fact that the Surface Pro version will be able to join Active Directory domains.

    For your average everyday consumer, the non-Intel version of Surface should suffice once the apps come and once MS has polished the user experience of Metro as there are still some annoying kinks that need to be worked out.

  • “If you think the Surface is “ridiculously priced” and the iPad isn’t, then you just aren’t thinking clearly.”

    I don’t personally think either are ridiculously overpriced. They’re both great devices that have their pluses & benefits. If a consumer is buying a tablet strictly just for content consumption, and not creation then yes, a full-sized tablet may be overkill for them. They should look at something like a Nexus 7 or iPad mini.

  • anon

    lolz @ steve lam. Pricing will most likely be slightly below the Macbook Pro/Air series obviously. Macbook base models are also spec’d out with 4GB of ram. Ram on the Surface Pro might be upgradable. BTW, you can run PS and certain CAD programs on 4GB of ram. Obviously any serious CAD, PS work requiring more should be done on a high power desktop anyways.

  • The RAM on the Surface Pro is not upgradable. It’s as upgradable as RAM on the Macbook Air.

    The problem with devices like the Surface Pro being able to run apps like AutoCad or Photoshop isn’t just lack of RAM but lack of horsepower. These devices are using low-power dual-core Intel processors with integrated graphics. They do not have the power to run these types of software efficiently.

    So you are correct in stating that serious CAD or PS work should be done on a serious desktop or laptop like the 15″ MB Pro.

  • Farids

    Mac devices use RAM much more efficiently. As a matter of fact, Mac, a totally different platform, utilizes CPU, RAM, storage and system resources differently and more efficiently than Windows. 4 Gig RAM is quite enough in a Mac as opposed to being just borderline enough in a Windows 8 environment. Storage is a big problem in the current line of released Surface tablets, and should also be in the Pro line, I suspect. If you spend your money on a 32 Gig Surface, you’ll find you only have near 16 Gig storage at your disposal. Bad news travels fast, that’s why everything about Surface has been modest!

  • Anthony ?

    I’ve been using a Surface RT at work for a week or so (we ordered one for testing) and it’s an interesting device. Build quality is excellent, but I can’t help feeling that Microsoft can’t quite decide if it’s a Tablet that wants to be a PC or a PC that wants to be a Tablet. Usability is fine, but you have this automatic impulse to keep switching between using the mouse and touching the screen, especially in Desktop apps like Office RT that aren’t designed for touch input at all (the touch targets are tiny). As a competitor to the iPad I think it’s a decent device depending on what you want to do with it. The biggest downside is the requirement to obtain apps via their app store, but selection will improve over time and it’s already better than BlackBerry App World if you’re comparing it to the PlayBook. If the ability to run a somewhat limited version of Office is an absolute must then it makes some sense, but if you’re comparing it with the iPad based on app store content, portability, size, etc then in my book the iPad beats it. The Surface is awkward to hold in portrait due to the size, and the kickstand doesn’t always keep the device at a convenient angle so you’ll end up messing around with it a lot trying to get it to work the way you need it to. It’s a good first try though.

    As for the Pro version, that’ll be essentially the same device as far as form factor goes, slightly thicker and heavier. Intel i5 CPU, integrated graphics, 128GB storage max and the ability to run x86 compiled apps. It’ll be an alternative to laptops or ultrabooks to some, but not all and it will be priced accordingly. Expect $999 minimum starting price.

  • anon

    Windows 8 is extremely efficient with ram (more so than previous versions of windows), and 4GB is more than plenty for the average user.

  • Farids

    Here’s the website that indicates the minimum requirement for Windows 8.

    2 GB is the bare minimum for a PC to upgrade. I agree with you in Windows 8 managing RAM, way better than Vista and 7 by a little. Microsoft says so. And I’m sure most people know 7 just runs ok with 4 gig and up. Owning a fast SSD helps if you make the paging files dynamic and put them and the entire virtual mem on it. But, the proper performance is achieved with 6 to 8 gig RAM in a triple to quad channel configuration. Of course that is with about 30-40 gig room on the hard disk or SSD for the virtual mem. Microsoft says 20 Gig minimum, but that’s the bare minimum. I’m doing a Windows 8 rollout pilot project setting up 5 systems leading to 78 systems if the pilot is successful. That’s my observation so far.

  • Farids

    I agree with you on Windows 8 using RAM more efficiently than previous versions. The average user can use the bare minimum of 2 Gig too as you very well know. But using a PC is not just for the moment of purchase. Using a computer and dealing with Windows is an ongoing process, ever growing updates (in size), different add ins, anti-virus program (that by itself takes more than 1/3 of the available headroom), and… Contribute to more RAM requirement. Average user would really be fine in long run, if he had 6-8 gig RAM at triple or quad channel configuration. With at least 30 Gig hard disk space for paging files and virtual mem. Microsoft says 20 Gig minimum, but optimal is 30 and up. On a fast SSD preferably. Nowadays, with the size of available programs, hard disk space fills up fairly fast. I remember, not long ago, XP was 180 Meg. Windows 7 alone is 18 Gig 🙂