Surface Pro sells out quickly, supply issues leaving customers frustrated

Microsoft Surface Pro

The new Microsoft Surface Pro tablet hasn't been on the shelves long and we are already getting tips that the tablet is sold out everywhere. Even for customers who pre-ordered the Surface Pro from local retailers.

One reader pre-ordered his at the local Best Buy only to learn that the store only received three units. Similar experiences were reported at other retail locations such as Staples with very limited supplies of the new Windows 8 tablet being delivered for launch day. Some stores are getting plenty of the 64GB models but no 128GB models which appears to have the greater demand.

To add to the short supply, the Surface Pro is also a hard find at Microsoft retail stores and online, the 128GB model is already out of stock. The 64GB model is currently in stock but who knows how long that will last.

We have a Microsoft Surface Pro area set up here in the Windows Phone Central forums for all the chatter on the Surface Pro. Feel free to head over their to share your successes, frustrations and questions on the new Windows 8 device.

Thanks, Scott and Kyle, for the tip!


Reader comments

Surface Pro sells out quickly, supply issues leaving customers frustrated



I was finally able to order a 128GB from MS Canada. Not sure about ship date as I received an email apologizing for a "revised ship date" but the text is all garbled. Microsoft's ordering system is kind of shaky at best. Fingers crossed.

A marketing strategy that's not working... For those who think this "sell-out" is due to a massive demand for the product, I've got ocean front property for sell in Palm Springs. Make me an offer!!!

Well, once everything has settled, it looks like a fair majority of folks went home disappointed today. So maddening that anyone with a single grain of marketing savvy could have properly gauged demand, yet someone there at Microsoft made a decision to stock Microsoft stores with a lot of Pros and then give scraps to the retailers. Is it any wonder why the retailers treat Microsoft things like a 2nd class citizen?

Our local Best Buy is the exception. They took the considerable effort to move both the RT and the Pro from the neglected mobile-phone endcap where they were last week to the FRONT table of the "Mostly Apple" laptop and mobile devices section. They for some reason failed to put colorful touch covers on them and instead had the RT in the non-eye-catching black, but at least they made a serious "Launch Day" attempt.

So, for their efforts, they got... Egg in the face. One of the workers overheard their GM talking sternly to someone purportedly in the supply-side, asking where all of the Surface Pro pre-orders that they sold were, because they #$%* sure weren't on his 6 AM truck as they were supposed to be. I got the feeling after talking to him and having him profusely apologize to me that he felt "used" and he was NOT happy about the image hit his store was taking.

I really feel sorry for Panos and the Surface Team. Here they finally produce something that is for once marketed in a somewhat noticeable way and people are ready to shell out money for on Day 1... Only to watch their superiors screw it all up for them. Extremely poor execution resulting in angry customers like me-- and I'm not one who angers easily.

We can only hope they learn and surface pro 2 has more stock, as well as getting new surface pro stock out quickly, panos tweeted 3 hours ago they are excited by the response, apologizes for customers not able to get one, and they are working to get supply out as quickly as possible

Sometimes it feels like Microsoft is not aware what happens in retail and lives in this imaginary world where they think that everything they do is just fantastic.

Everyone was giving Google crap for the Nexus 4 stock but here you have people willing to spend upwards of $1000 and the company doesn't have enough stock to sell? It is bad business not to mention the bad experience that people had.

Sometime last week, while I was in the mall, I went to the MS store to pick up a reserved ticket for the Surface Pro. I was planning to go and get mine as soon as the store openes, at 10:00 AM. Thanks to Nemo wintet strom, by the time I shoveled the driveway and got to the mall, it was past noon. There were no lines, so I figured the launch was not a big success. After walking around for a while, I asked for the SP 128. I was told they were sold out of all the 128s. That's when I showed the reserved card, then they called their manager, and I was told they held some for the reserved card folks and I was finally allowed to buy one. I was happy and I love this baby. I am posting this from my Surface Pro.

If you live in Phoenix, you can certainly get one. It is definitely not sold out in either the Scottsdale/Tempe Best Buys or the the Scottsdale Microsoft Store.

Stores place the orders based on the demand that they expect to see. I guess they could have based the demand for the pro on speculative rt sales numbers , or been stupid enough to listen to all the negative reviews found on supposed tech sites such as all things not Microsoft, i mean d, who have there own agenda. I guess we will never know.

wait so let me get this straight some stores had 2 and sold out almost instantly, yet people are reporting that other stores still have some in stock. So does that mean some best buys cant get rid of the 2 they got . Lmao

The Surface RT wad also frequently running out of stock, current estimate sold less than a million worldwide. If true was only a mild success.

Who needs a economy 101? You can learn alot about supply and demand right here. Real world examples. I asked my school for refund me for the class. Waiting for reply or check..

Apple has changed the product launch forever. Every manufacturer now has to think about how it looks on day one. Undersupply and not meet demand? Fiasco. Oversupply and look like a fail? Major fiasco. To risk undersupplying demand is generally the safer bet.

Very true.  Wish more people realized this instead of complaining about stores being sold out due to stock; bottom line is, as you stated, either scenario, people will chastise Microsoft for it.

There's no way this thing is truly selling out in mass. Most probably stores only have 1-10 units or some type of supply and that's how its selling out.

I went to Futureshop Toronto Downtown 1hr after they opened and it was all sold out. The employee said we only received 4. So very limited supplies.

I have a friend that's a Windows rep at BestBuy in south Florida, and she told me that her store didn't even receive any devices. Strange considering her store is the busiest in the district. Seems like Microsoft needs to step their game up.

When major retailers that are supporting the product get less than five units to sell on launch day, it should not be considered a high demand success. It's a supply failure. I planned on selling my iPad 4th-Gen to get this, but now I am left waiting ... 
I love how it was reported that they sold out so quickly ... of course they did, they only have 5,000 of the 128GB units to sell througout North America.

Tons of frustration over the lack of an available 128 model, but the 64 still seems to be the better deal and is available at multiple stores in my area.

Not sure how you come to the conclusion the Pro with half the onboard storage and only $100 less is the better deal. 128GB Pro is the better deal thus it sold out quickly.

You are trying to compare a 64 GB USB flash drive to the SSD in the Surface Pro??? The SSD performance is 10x better than a USB stick or SD card.

You need to consider only USB 3.0 drives in order to get comparable yet lower performance. And, again, a good 64GB USB 3.0 drive is more than $100 right now.

I was just beginning to slightly regret going with the x1 carbon touch in lieu of SPro, but I suspected something like this would happen. I was psyched to get a L920 but after not being able to find any gave up and moved on. I was psyched to get a Surface only to find Pro would be released months after Rt (and now more waiting). I'm likely passing on this too. I'm rapidly moving to the don't announce if if you aren't ready to sell it camp. Meaning more than single digit unit availability at a store.

Lets just say that MS could meet demand and every store had hundreds of units, wouldnt that finally push the oems over the edge? I mean you people do realize MS built thier own factort in china to build hardware exclusively for MS dont you? That being said, i was told i could upgrade my rt for the pro and would get %80 percent trade in value!!!

Let us think about this, yes that would be true, but given they just sold 1m x 1000, that is a cool billion, any more, and you risk product launch failure or stamping on the oem's, someone on another thread said Canada and the USA got 1 million units, from digitimes archives he said.

In the Knoxville,Tn area Staples seemed to have one 64GB model and no 128GB models. We have two bb here and both were sold out when I went around 5pm to purchase one. One bb said they were gone pretty quick. He didn't say how many they had but he said 5 employees reserved thiers. Both bb's sold out of both models including the display model. One told me they put an order in for 30 to get restocked (128gb)

Just got back from BB took a look at the pro.  The damn thig is heavy if you ask me.  I know it might just feel that way becasue of the size but my ultrabook feels lighter.  So IMOP it's not worth 1000 for me.

Moaning about low stock at launch is so 1990. Wake up folks. When the economy was hot a new device could be launched with bins full of units, and if it failed, well that was ok because Consumers would snap up the next one in droves and margins were high. This is 2013, and outside of Apple and Samsung hardware profits are marginal. PCs have been commoditized and the Surface Pro is a part of that market. If MS flooded stores with them day 1 even a good launch could result in a huge loss. Order on-line if you are sure you want one. Stores are not much more than showrooms these days .

Best Buy apparently "gets" that there's demand for this. Front page of their website this morning and they are taking "ship to store orders", but of course every BB in the land shows stock "unavailable".

I walked into the Microsoft Store in Cincinnati OH (Kenwood Mall) on Saturday at 10am. There was no wait, very few people in the store. There was a guy in front of me and behind me in checkout line. All of us walked out with 128 GB Surface Pro units.
So, I was very surprised to read later about lines and selling out.

I live in Columbus and after trying to find a Surface Pro from all the Best buy locations in and around Columbus without success, I called the MS in Cincinnati around around 3pm yesterday only to be told all surface pro 64gb and and 128gb variants were sold out. They could not specifically tell when the next consignment were arriving but only asked me to call in by Thursday.

I wanted one but from my checks there has been very low inventory. I went to two different Best Buys and both said they never got any 128GB models, one of them had received two 64GB modes and the other one didn't get any inventory, other than their display units. I then went to the Microsoft Store and they had only 4 of the 128GB models, and sold those quickly, and they had a couple of 64 GB models...all in the store had less than 12 units in total. None of the stores could say when or if they would get more units.
So, I'm probably done with them, first Microsoft/Nokia did the exclusive with ATT on the 920 (I hate ATT) and then they go and launch this device with a very low inventory. They had months to prepare production and get enough units to have a great launch. So, thanks for saving me about $1200 bucks Microsoft. I'm probably now just going to go with a Lenovo at some point...but no rush now.

I was at the Microsoft Store at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, GA and they had plenty of Surface Pros 128 and 64 for the people that were waiting there.  One guy had been waiting there from 5:00 AM.  Thankfully, they opened the store early and let us all get one.  I was out of there with my 128 before official opening hours.  They did run out of Type Covers though.  I don't know exactly how many of us were there, but it was enough that we were about to have to start lining up as it was getting to be too many to remember who was first and so on...  If I had to guess, by 9:30 there were about 30 people there.  I was the only employee out of all of the people as well.  Keep in mind that Microsoft employees have a hardware refresh coming and I think many of them are looking to get them through that refresh.  I called the Perimeter Mall pop-up and they felt that they had enough to make the weekend, however we all see how that ended.  That said, I would say that they did say in select Best Buy stores.  So, it doesn't surprise me that their inventories were fairly low.  I am happy to see the demand.  I prefer this to the story of that inventories were low and it didn't sell out.  By the way, did I mention that this thing is smokn' fast.

Best Buy store here in Huntsville, Al didn't have any in stock at all. The only ones they received were those who "pre-ordered" the tablet. So i had to also "pre-order" mine as well yesterday evening and should arrive in 5 - 7 days. I asked if them planned to have the tablets stocked, the best buy guy said eventually. It really doesn't matter whose to blame, I'm just disapointed with the whole experience.

All those pseudo press experts are loaded with Apple stock and honestly believe that Apple has some sort of future in technological leadership in a post Steve Jobs area. But if you look at the facts Apple has become a media consumption goods manufacturer. Clearly their negative reviews of the Surface Pro have held Staples and Best Buy back on ordering "normal" launch quantities. I was never a fan of the Surface, not because of the hardware, but because of the app ecosystem. Clearly, an iPad or Android Tablet has not 1/2 of the applications available that we can use on the Surface Pro of Samsung Ativ-S Pro or... other Windows 8 Pro Tablets. And consumers are not dumb, a Surface Pro replaces a tablet and a ultrabook in one go... Saves us a lot of time and money.

You guys should have sympathy to MS as they start selling Surface right in China/Asian holiday, thus how are they supposed to get enough supply when all workers are on vacation.

Funny, met a guy at the airport heading to China and told him about my Surface debacle and he said the same thing! Maybe I should get the red "year of the snake" special-edition touch cover to commemorate my experience? :-D