Microsoft sells out of Surface Pro, just like the Zune HD did in 2009

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Microsoft has announced "amazing" customer response to its tablet/notebook hybrid Surface Pro, and reports have noted that the higher end 128GB model has sold out in some locations "immediately" after going on sale, just as the Zune HD did in 2009.

Surface


In a blog posting earlier today, the company didn't report how many units of the new Surface Pro it had sold, or even had shipped to stores, and was even careful not to imply that the "amazing" customer response was actually being reflected in any specific way, such as in indirect sales or even a quantified numbers of customers.

Instead, Microsoft's Panos Panay stated that the company is "working with our retail partners who are currently out of stock of the 128GB Surface Pro to replenish supplies as quickly as possible."

However, nearly all of the readers commenting on the blog posting noted frustrating launch day experiences that included observations such as, "the Best Buy employee told us they only had a single Surface Pro for sale and it was the 64 GB version," and "most stores received only a couple of units. My local Staples got 1 unit (64 GB), Best Buy got 7 (4 64 GB, 3 128GB) all available only to the folks who reserved one. I was the first in line today at BBY and didn't get anything. This is a complete disappointment and failure. You guys suck."

Windows Enthusiasts take the news as a net positive

In response to the news of sell outs, leading Windows blogger and prolific book author Paul Thurrott wrote that "[Microsoft's] critics will be disappointed to discover that Surface Pro is in fact flying off the shelves, at the least the 128 GB version."

Those who show up at Microsoft retail store locations are reporting 'Apple-like' lines.Thurrott added that "those who show up at Microsoft retail store locations are reporting 'Apple-like' lines."

Thurrott was alluding to the blocks-long queues that formed around the globe at the launch of Apple's original iPhone and at subsequent launches, including the latest iPhone 5 (pictured below in New York City).

Fifth


Microsoft's selling out of Surface Pro inventory means ?the market has spoken,? wrote Ed Bott of ZDNet.

After being reminded that the ARM-based Surface RT version of Microsoft's new tablet/notebook hybrid had also ?sold out? before becoming a clear flop during the winter quarter, Bott issued a clarification to explain why readers shouldn?t connect the dots and arrive at the conclusion that the Surface Pro selling out might not be an indication that it is actually selling well.

The fact that the low end model of the Surface RT sold out ?suggests that buyers of the RT device were price-sensitive and were looking for something with a tablet-like price,? Bott answered. ?By contrast, the initial sell-out of the higher-priced 128 GB Surface Pro suggests early buyers are spec-sensitive and are skeptical of the available storage in the 64 GB device.?

This all happened before

Reports of inventory "sell outs" is not new, and certainly not for Microsoft. In 2009, the firm's Zune HD music player was widely reported to have ?sold out? from resellers ranging from Amazon to Newegg to BestBuy. Two years later it was discontinued because in reality it had never sold very well.

Microsoft sells out of Zune HD


Other devices that were reported by major news sources as having ?sold out? include another flop from 2009: the WebOS Palm Pre. In fact, a number of major consumer electronics product disasters have hit the market with an initial splash that generated reports of having "sold out" of initial inventory.

Last fall, several Windows Phone 8 models ?sold out,? alongside ?sold out? sales of Google?s blockbuster dud, the Nexus Q. Sony?s flop, the PS Vita, was also reported to have ?sold out? among some retailers.

Google also ?sold out? of the Nexus 4 last fall, before it was deduced from serial numbers that it had only actually produced just 400,000 units of it over the entire quarter. Shockingly, you can ?sell out? of a device just by not producing very many of them.

Remember RIM? The company was reported to have ?sold out? of its Blackberry Bold in late 2011, just years after the company had lost all relevance in the smartphone industry. Unsurprisingly, the new Blackberry Z10 is currently reported to have ?sold out? in the UK.

Apple observers see inventory shortages as a failure

In contrast, Apple's inability to forecast demand for various products has resulted in criticism, rather than hopeful celebration. Apple has flubbed its production and shipments on several occasions, struggling to meet demand with capacity. In 2010, the company announced a white version of iPhone 4 that it subsequently failed to deliver for months due to production issues.

In the most recent winter quarter, Apple failed to bring its new slim iMac to market as soon as it had planned, missing most of the quarter and leaving it with 700,000 fewer iMac sales than in the year ago quarter. It also didn?t accurately forecast the demand for either iPhone 4 or iPhone 5. On top of that, the company it couldn?t produce iPads fast enough to meet demand.

Apple's shares were crushed by investors after the company reported its inventory sell outs and missed sales numbers over the important sales quarter.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 178
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Certainly not Apple numbers but no one expected that, especially from a device that starts at $999.

    I say good job. Regardless of how many they made selling out looks good here. For MS's sake they will have sold enough units to actually report on that figure but chances are come Monday morning they will only report on how quickly it sold out.


    [QUOTE=AppleInsider]In 2010, the company announced a white version of iPhone 4 that it subsequently failed to deliver for months due to production issues.[/QUOTE]

    I need to remember that promise then delay of 9 months for the white iPhone 4 the next time someone claims that the iMac delays would have never happened if Steve Jobs were alive. At least Apple meet their promised shipping times for both iMac sizes.
  • Reply 2 of 178
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    .
  • Reply 3 of 178
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 708member
    It's almost like Thurrott is trying to create extra demand by so quickly blogging about MS's sellouts. Without knowing if MS pulled out the stops, like Apple does, producing as many Surface Pros as possible before the introduction, it's hard to pounce on this news and conclude that things are just about to turn around.

    I saw Ballmer at the CES saying that they are selling 4 x as many phones this month as last month. But 4 x what? Had the numbers been impressive, he would have done the math for us.

    I think the short battery life kills the Pro. We'll see.
  • Reply 4 of 178
    "...sold out in some locations "immediately" after going on sale, just as the Zune HD did in 2009."

    Ouch! Now come on AI, was that really necessary? LOL!
  • Reply 5 of 178
    Selling out is nice, but what matters is the actual number of units sold. Selling out with only a few units per store doesn't mean very much. Microsoft obviously still has a fairly high number of diehard Windows fanbois who'll buy anything Microsoft has for sale, so hopefully they can move a half-million units within a few weeks. I've seen so many fanbois claiming that they've been waiting for years for a product like the ZunePad Pro because it can run all of the legacy software and they can tuck it under their arms to brandish their new toy at their favorite coffee shops.

    Fortunately for Microsoft, investors won't punish the stock if they don't sell that many of these tablets and it's probably already priced in because they're not expecting very many to be sold. Microsoft has said that their own tablet is just the tip of the iceberg and they're counting on their partner OEMs to sell them by the millions. Microsoft is only showing the way for the OEMs to follow. If Microsoft should actually sell a million of these tablets for the quarter, Microsoft's share price would probably spike to $30 a share and Wall Street would rejoice claiming MS will put Apple out of the tablet business.
  • Reply 6 of 178
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member


    They must have been giving something away to the first 100 people or some sort of way to buy people to show up.  I was at the local Best Buy and there was NO ONE that was checking out the Surface Pro, so I think any attraction was done at Microsoft stores where they do something to attract people.

  • Reply 7 of 178


    It's sad that there was no photo of this "Apple-like" lines. So AI had to use a pic of the iPhone 5 line for stand in. image

  • Reply 8 of 178
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Of course it's sold out when you only manufacture 14 of them. And those 14 people will probably return them when they realize just how screwed they were.
  • Reply 9 of 178


    What the hell is a zune?

  • Reply 10 of 178
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    bdkennedy1 wrote: »
    Of course it's sold out when you only manufacture 14 of them. And those 14 people will probably return them when they realize just how screwed they were.

    The volume comment is facile but I think the standard two week return policy is something to consider. I am sure we'll get an article about returns within the few weeks. Unfortunately we'll likely have no way to know how many or what percentage that is.
  • Reply 11 of 178
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    When you proclaim a "sell out" after making only a handful of units available to the public, you look rather silly MS.
  • Reply 12 of 178


    Thomas Andrews: That's five compartments! She can stay afloat with the first four compartments breached, but not five a inch screen! 

    [tersely to Smith

    Thomas Andrews: Not five. As she goes down by the head, the water will spill over the tops of the bulkheads at E deck from one to the next. Back and back. There's no stopping it. 

    Apple Jr.: The pumps... if we opened the doors... MS did it with the Surface ahead.

    Thomas Andrews: [interrupting] The pumps buy you time, but minutes only. From this moment, no matter what we do, Apple will founder. 

    Cook: [incredulously] But this ship can't sink! 

    Thomas Andrews: She's made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can... and she will. It is a mathematical certainty. 

    Cook: How much time? 

    Thomas Andrews: A year... two at most.

  • Reply 13 of 178
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    Hard to take Thurrott seriously after he criticized the iPad for having such a good display that it required more available storage space than competing devices. See below:

    "But the other issue is that the iPad suffers from a very strange problem. Its Retina display, at a whopping, bigger-than-HD 2048-by-1536 resolution, is, in my mind, unnecessarily vast. It requires apps to include gigantic graphic resources which have exploded the sizes of apps. It%u2019s kind of a weird thing to say, but the iPad, which in many ways is vastly inferior to a PC, actually requires more storage space because of this app size/screen resolution issue." -Paul Thurrott

    Better display, more free space, what a mess.

    http://winsupersite.com/mobile-devices/thinking-about-128-gb-ipad-and-64-gb-surface-pro
  • Reply 14 of 178


    This feels like Surface RT all over again.


     


    2 months from now, MS will quietly half-announce that the Pro is a major flop. Microsoft zealots will ignore it like they did the RT, since the Surface Pro+ is the REAL main event!! The Pro was just a proof of concept/consumer model/just something for the holiday season/just establishing the Surface Pro brand, you see. The Surface Pro+ is the one everyone wants, and will finally get Microsoft back on top!!! You'll see!!!!

  • Reply 15 of 178
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member


    Any reasonably minded person has to assume the worst, since Microsoft, and virtually everybody else who's not Apple, is always too scared to release any numbers, because those numbers would make themselves look bad. 


     


    Let's take a quick look back at Apple's last iPad release:


     


    Apple announced Monday that it sold 3 million iPad mini and iPad models over the devices’ debut weekend.


     


    That's a pretty clear cut statement, and there's no room left for doubting or guessing. Apple is not afraid of the truth and they're not hiding anything. 


     


    Now let's take a quick look at how other companies operate (just about everybody else comes to mind):


     


    We sold out! We refuse to tell you how many we sold or if those sold were actually sold or just shipped, but trust us! We would never lie to you! We might have sold 1,000 or maybe 50,000, but we are not going to tell you. You're just going to have to trust us on this one. You should assume that we sold at least ten million, because that would be the logical conclusion, since we refuse to offer any sort of proof whatsoever.


     


    In a world where Microsoft Surfaces sell out, in a world where Android has 75 Billion activations per hour, and in a world where Samsung sales are quite smooth, I find it kind of odd that Apple is the only one out of the whole damn bunch to actually come out and just tell the truth from the beginning, giving real numbers without any BS attached.


     


    I don't believe a single thing that any of those other ball-less companies say or claim. Show me the proof or STFU.

  • Reply 16 of 178
    This article has been written very harshly, which is fine if it's an opinion piece but not when it is supposed to be a news piece. The PS Vita didn't do as well as sony hoped but still 7 million units is hardly a flop and by 2011 Blackberry were still selling an awful lot of Bolds especially in the UK where it is still the number one smartphone among young people which was probably why it was sold out. I'm a regular reader and Apple fan but this article's tone just seems a bit out of character of AI which is normally fair in it's editorials.
  • Reply 17 of 178


    To me, if they don't publish numbers, it's a meaningless benchmark.


    All the "sells out" story tells us is that demand exceeded supply at launch, before returns are taken into account. The launch supply could be anything; 100 for all we know.


     


    If Surface Pro really is the "future" of the Windows PC, then between the awesomely portable and superior tablet experience of the iPad, and the awesomely powerful quad-core intel/nvidia MacBook Pro with Retina Display, SURFACE PRO WILL BE EATEN ALIVE.

  • Reply 18 of 178
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    walshbj wrote: »
    Hard to take Thurrott seriously after he criticized the iPad for having such a good display that it required more available storage space than competing devices. See below:

    "But the other issue is that the iPad suffers from a very strange problem. Its Retina display, at a whopping, bigger-than-HD 2048-by-1536 resolution, is, in my mind, unnecessarily vast. It requires apps to include gigantic graphic resources which have exploded the sizes of apps. It%u2019s kind of a weird thing to say, but the iPad, which in many ways is vastly inferior to a PC, actually requires more storage space because of this app size/screen resolution issue." -Paul Thurrott

    Better display, more free space, what a mess.

    http://winsupersite.com/mobile-devices/thinking-about-128-gb-ipad-and-64-gb-surface-pro

    Groan. OS and base software takes 75GB on a Surface Pro and iPad needlessly wastes data space? Doesn't iOS consume less than 2GB? Surface Pro isn't that much lower res than iPad. He's worse than DED regarding contrived statements.
  • Reply 19 of 178
    Meh, I'll believe it when the quarterly numbers come out. Until then this is just a lot of marketing bluster.

    These baseless statements are "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Shakespeare, Macbeth.
  • Reply 20 of 178


    Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

    Its Retina display… …is unnecessarily vast. It requires apps to include gigantic graphic resources…




    Here's a man either with poor eyesight or poor foresight. Possibly both, certainly the latter.


     


    In five years' time, the thought of having displays connected to our computers that couldn't show us the level of detail of a real-world object will be absurd.


     


    At least, in the Apple ecosystem. Five years hence, we'll be laughing at Windows users whose brand new, Skymont laptops with 13" screens STILL only have resolutions of 1280x720.


     


    Apple will have long since ushered in a new age of beauty and realism in computing across their entire product line. And Microsoft will just be playing catch-up. Again.


     


    Heck, five years from now I see Microsoft still using the Registry and not having a replacement for BIOS.

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