Report: Surface Pro off to a slow start due to supply issues

AdDuplex, the advertising publisher for developers on both Windows and Windows Phone, has released data for Windows 8 and Windows RT devices in the month of February 2013. Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet has only been available for a short while and already the product has sold out (but has since been made available once again). So how does this translate to usage?

We'll make a start on top hardware worldwide where we can't see any clear changes, apart from the Surface RT share shrinking slightly and the ASUS VivoTab dropping out of the top 10 devices. What's interesting to see in the chart below is the absence of the Surface Pro - which is billed as the more powerful brother of the popular Surface RT tablet.

AdDuplex Windows Hardware Worldwide

So is this the case where the Surface Pro is in 11th position? Unfortunately, this is not what we're witnessing here. AdDuplex reports the tablet is sat comfortably in position 52. Comparing both Surface tablets together, here's what the picture looks like:

AdDuplex Surface Pro RT

We weren't expecting the Surface Pro to overtake the RT version of the tablet and steam ahead with 99% of the pie, but we did believe Microsoft had the opportunity to push its more powerful, full Windows 8 tablet out to consumers. Walking away from both charts above, we can firmly assume that the reason for the lack of stock available for consumers at launch was due to insufficient supply.

We're almost looking at a repeat of the Surface RT launch. If the product remained in stock, we could then start to look at consumer concerns, including pricing concerns and more, but we'll be eagerly awaiting improvements next month with Microsoft fixing up the issues with Surface Pro supply.

The AdDuplex report is based on usage data accumulated from 132 Windows Store apps running the AdDuplex SDK over the period of 24 hours (February 15th). The full report will be available over at AdDuplex soon.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • still, it is great to see the RT as the largest single Win8 model.
  • Not so great seeing the sells of the RT :)
  • First, the word is sales, and second you have not seen the sales for Surface RT....
  • I went in to Best Buy this weekend to look at a Pro and walked out with an RT. Not because they were out of stock on the Pro, but because I just couldn't justify that price tag on this device.
    As a tablet, it is simply too heavy and too thick. Period. As an ultrabook, it would have done a decent job. But I wanted a PC in a tablet form factor and the Pro would have required too many compromises on my part for that.
    When the next gen Atom processors hit and the bulk of the cooling system and chip are removed from the form factor, the Pro will be that tablet-and-pc all in one device. Until then, I just simply don't think it is and it certainly isn't for me.
    So far, I love my RT. And when Nokia comes out with its Pro device, I'll have a reason for taking a good long look at it.
  • Pretty much why I went with RT from the start - that and I dont need legacy apps on my portable tablet.I dont need to pay more for a heavier device with less battery life to have the ability to do things I realistically will rarely do, or have easy workarounds for (like RDP).
  • This!
  • To me the large problem with RT is that the new App ecosystem just isnt there. Pro is what I got, I don't find 2 lbs to be heavy, I'm always near power.
  • Problem is that RT doesn't support Cisco vpns which my work uses.
  • I respect your choice and am glad you found the device that works for you.  Since I am fairly set on the Surface Pro, I am curious about your statement:  "[a]s a tablet, it is simply too heavy and too thick."  Can you elaborate on that?  I went through the same analysis with the L920 and HTC 8x and am good with the Lumia because in and of itself, it is not too heavy.  It is just heavier than most other phones.
    Could that be the case with the Surface Pro?  It is indeed heaver than traditional tablets, but is it really "too heavy"?  Is it uncomfortable?  I'm not trying to be cheeky, I just want to know if I am missing something, because on the showroom floor it seems fine to me.
    Edit--no pun intended.  I just noticed your name is CheekyTaurus.
  • LOL re the cheeky thing.
    As for being too thick and too heavy, for an ultrabook type device, I don't think it is. But I held the RT and the Pro side by side then I held the Pro and an iPad (purely tablet form factor comparision, not capability comparison) and as a tablet and for the things I would be using it for AS a tablet, it just didn't make sense from a weight perspetive.
    With the Lumia 920, we're a) talking about a phone and b) the actual weight difference porpotion difference isn't as great. So I don't think that comparing that weight/size decision vs. a tablet is a fair comparison.
    That being said, I wanted a tablet with the convinience of being able to do the things a PC could do, not the other way around. So in light of that, the RT was the better choice for me.
  • I don't think anyone can answer for you what is too heavy or thick or what kind of batter life you want. It really is all personal preference. The RT I think is still too heavy to hold with 1 hand so I'd be fine with Surface Pro since I'm not going to hold it front of me anyway.
    Thickness isn't huge difference imo but again best to go to local store and evaluate for yourself.
    But if you are not going to run any win7 programs the RT is just fine and saves good deal of money. Plus the RT battery life is pretty great especially compared to Pro.
  • And for me, holding the RT with one hand is very easy....which proves your point that personal preference is king.
  • Weight in a tablet is much more important than in a phone.  A phone is easily balanced in one hand.  A tablet is not.  And a phone is a lot lighter to start with due to its size.
  • OK, thanks for the input.  I probably need to spend some more time testing it with one hand to see if that is a problem.  As far as transport, working on my lap or with two hands it seems to be fine.
  • I would NEVER drop that kind of coin on an Atom-powered device. Ivy for me if I'm gonna spend over a grand. (keyboard and taxes)
  • Today's Atom chips, not today, no - that isn't what I said. But the next generation of Atom chips? If it gives comparable processing power without the heat and power consumption of Ivy, then it's worth taking a look. And the processor will likely be cheaper than the Ivy, and that would probably bring the cost down as well.
  • When will we see the first Haswell tablets -- and then isn't there a new Atom to match?  If it's really soon, I think holding off makes the most sense.
  • I  went into Best Buys as well. I didn't find the weight to be bad. I held both the RT and pro in each hand and didn't find the weight difference to be a concern. However, the price is a concern. I realize it is priced to compete with ultrabooks. I just can't justify paying that much right now. As much as I want it, I will wait until component prices drop.
  • Never really see why weight is such a huge issue with large tablets, iPad included. I find that I typically rest my rt against my legs or use the kick stand while reading or using apps. Seriously who holds a tablet outstretched for a substantial length of time, especially a full sized tablet? Even my nook color would get tiring doing that for an extended period of time.
  • [I'd typed a bunch of stuff but got my answer from reading....]
  • Just like Lumia 920, you would think that after years, they would learn but no...
  • I ordered surface pro today, it will ship by March 1st. It will take a few months to get a better picture of the number sold.
  • I want one but still no word of Uk release. My company intends to trial few too. Anything to stop the iPad headache.
  • The Pro version will do relatively well. Though they should include a type cover for the prices they are charging. As for the RT model, lower the price and include a touch cover and the sales should significantly increase.
  • They reallly should include the type cover. I was in the best buy and there was a guy looking at the surface as a possible buy for his daughter for school. When I told him that it wasn't included, it pretty much eliminated the pro a a choice and he went to the macs. I'm not sure what he bought, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a surface.
  • Can't wait for my Pro to come in. I'm on the road all day and need smartcode VNC manager, Sonicwall VPN, & Cisco VPN. so I need the pro. If SC, SW, & Cisco made a app I would get the RT tell then the Pro is for me so I can ditch my laptop, tablet, and bag.
  • Its like Microsoft is looking for a reason to get bad press with everything they do. There's no excuse as far as I'm concerned for not having supply of the Pro, its been a known product that a number of consumers have been waiting for. I can understand retailers only having 20-30 units in stock and running out but 2-3 if that? Its laughable.
  • well.. are you expecting magic to happen to double the production of a product? if its sold out its sold out. nothing you can do about it
  • I don't know the exact numbers they had ready any more than anyone else I've heard talk about it, but what the circumstantial evidence (no 128s, 1 or 2 128s, etc.) suggest, Microsoft had dismally small amounts of stock for launch...sounds like tens of thousands to me. They must have known that soon enough to postpone the launch. Launching with a few units, ticking off the majority of the enthusiasts who want to buy one and can't get it, then being out of stock for two to three weeks (when the newspapers have just reported on it, and now fall silent save for reports ridiculing them for the flubbed launch) is an absolute disaster. I really like Microsoft, but from what I can see, they should have postponed the launch by at least a couple weeks and just admitted they don't have enough stock to launch. I have to believe that would have given them much better responses from enthusiasts and those these people will show them to and tell about it, too.
  • How would anyone be better off if the launch was postponed?  No one would have the device instead of some people, and they would still be getting a bunch of complaining.
  • It was never Microsoft's intention to make Surface models in mass quantaties anyway. Balmer stated very clearly that they are setting out to "prime the pump" with these with regards to launching Windows 8. It's a very different strategy than the idevices of the world and the Samsung whos-a-whats-its.
  • They actually have a good reason. They were estimating selling 4 million RT and sold 1 million. It's a new product and they don't know what the demand is going to be. Having inventory sitting in a warehouse is expensive. Apple on the other hand pretty much knows what the initial demand for the iphoe is and yet every year they fall well short.
  • They could still sell 4 million since the RT is still on the market. Remember back when Balmer set out to sell 10 Million XBOX's? People thought he was talking out of his rear end. As of January 2012 they sold 66 Million XBOX 360's.
    I'll reiterate again that Microsoft's strategy isn't the same as an Apple or Samsung. Microsoft deals alot in horizontal sales strategy for the longterm.
  • No, it's more like people are just looking to whine, cry, and bitch about any and everything MS does, even if it essentially amounts to nothing.
    So either get one or don't, just STFU about it.
  • 4% considering that they sold out most of it after a few days is excellent!
  • Let's see how many times Microsoft can shoot themselves in the foot.
  • As compared to what... how many successes they've had since the 80's? sure, g'head...
  • I think that's exactly right. In the 80s MS toppled the mighty IBM. In the 90s they toppled Lotus, WordPerfect, Netscape, Novell, Apple, Realnetworks...In the aughts they have been getting creamed by newcomers like Google and once-vanquished rivals like Apple. What changed in that period that they went from being the dominant OS provider to #3 (both Android and iOS have greater "compute share" than Windows). One place to look is the CEO.
  • Isn't the Surface Pro (and all x86 based tablets) at a severe disadvantage when comparing metrics like these?
    I'd guess that RT based OS owners with their inability to run legacy x86 apps would depend on the Windows App srtore far more than "pro" owners who are likely to use legacy and new x86 applications as they're more capable apps.
    I can't say I'd entirely trust Pro and RT comparisons from simple ads from Metro based apps.
  • I agree.
  • I love my RT. I'd like to have a pro as well for when I need desktop apps, but most of the time I find myself using the Surface RT over my alienware laptop.
  • Yeah, my RT has replaced my laptop.  Not a complete PC replacement, but for my mobile use it does everything I need it to and then some.   I was seriously considering a Lenovo Yoga 13 or a Pro but for a comparable price I now have a better mobile device AND a better home PC than either of those can offer. 
  • Its very strange that the top 4 or 5 machiens are extramly low end laptops ... th hp 2000 and g6 and 7 are 350 dollar laptops. almost in range with chrome book pricing.. I does not look like people are spending money on laptops, I really think that hardware companies should be bringing back netbooks with atom processors since they are so much better today and windows 8 runs so well on the atom just try the acer iconia w5 its very fast but its touch without toch this should sell for 250 to350 and it will sell.
  • Congratulations on winning that lets make news out of nothing award. How exactly was anyone expecting a device that has been on sale for about a week to register in the metrics?  You take a device on sale for a few days and then peg its position based upon usage of 132 apps from an app store upon which it is less dependent.  It looks like the math the Romney campaign and Fox News used to predict a Romney landslide. Personally my bet is Surface Pro sales are poor based upon my subjective impresssion that no one seems to be looking at them in the local BBs and Microsoft Store. As flawed as going with personal impressions may be though, at least that is based upon foot traffic. Taking a subset of an irrelevant metric and applying it to a device that is a few days old is simply a waste of time....
  • +1 This is a silly statistic at this point.
    As for MS strategy, well I think they blew this launch. They're overcharging for memory and were afraid people wouldn't pay for it. Well, if you buy a Windows based machine with a small amount of memory EVERYBODY knows your buying frustration. Also, this isn't an entertainment Tablet, so people need a lot of available information and program storage. As a result the 64 G model has been constantly in stock, while the 128G sold out in minutes.
    Clearly MS doesn't know what its doing, which is why they are being conservative on stock levels and pricing high. For the price of the 128G the touch cover should be included. If they had dine that, and stocked better they'd be minting money now.
  • Surface RT will be my next tablet, not really interested in the Pro. I find it too expensive at the moment
  • I've got a Surface RT which gets heavy use. Love it. Just ordered the Surface Pro 128. Which will see much use at work. I wish though that they were available to buy in a store as opposed to buying it online. Oh well.
    As far as the price, it is a little pricy but it's a premium device. solid and portable. It will play nice in our enterprise environment.
  • This is purely on account of Surface Pro's limited numbers of devices on in circulation. Compare RT after Pro has been on the market for 90 days, then we'll talk.
    Moreover, I can tell you EXACTLY how many WinRT-style apps I have installed and use... 6. 3 built-in (Music, Photos, and Videos) and 3 purchased... ClassicRSS, Package Tracker, and Skype... and odds are, of the 6, only Skype has ads. And I'm not in it very often... I connect, chat, and disconnect.
    The whole point of buying Pro was to run desktop applications for productivity, and I play in it from time to time.
  • I love my surface rt. For development, I would buy a 15" ultrabook that has more RAM and more SSD storage.
  • Legacy desktop apps on an Atom processor would be horrible, MS did the right thing to go with a Core i5.
  • same thing with Nokia
  • Um, I don't think many Pro users are downloading apps with th ad duplex SDK. I know I never will. Why download apps when you can just use the full version of whatever it is you are looking for.
  • Just got a Vivo tab smart and it rocks, The Atom CPU just flys it can handle 1080p mkv with 5.1 dts sound track as good as my i3 media centre . People who sneer at the word Atom cpu do really have to experience it in win 8 I admit it was a gamble for me spending £400 on a Atom tablet but have no regrets I love it and love showing off what its capable of.
  • It's interesting to see the debate between Pro and RT on this. The argument for and against each is exactly why MS had to do both.
    If you don't need access to legacy apps, enterprise features, domains, etc. offered by the Pro then RT is perfect. For those who do need those features then Pro is an excellent choice.
    Either way you go as long as you know what you're getting into you'll make the right choice!