Announcing “amazing” customer response to its new Surface Pro device, Microsoft has said the 128GB model of the tablet/notebook hybrid has sold out in some locations “immediately” after going on sale. Was it truly an enthusiastic reception from the public, or did Microsoft plan the “sell outs” by intentionally shorting the amount of Surface Pro’s they shipped to the retailers?
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.
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.”
Several readers who commented on the blog posting noted frustrating in-store experiences 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 fans of course greeted the “sold out” news with enthusiasm, as Windows blogger 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.” (Well, at least when they “flew off the shelf,” bystanders only had to duck once or twice…) He continued saying that Microsoft retail stores were reporting “Apple-like” lines, alluding to the long lines that form around the block when Apple devices like the iPhone or iPad are released.
Ed Bott of ZDNet wrote that Surface Pro sell out meant that “the market has spoken.” When reminded that the Surface RT also “sold out” before falling flat on its face last quarter, Bott warned readers not to “connect the dots,” and make the same conclusion for the Pro.
Since the low end model of the Surface RT sold out, that “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.”
Reports of Microsoft device “sell outs” isn’t new of course. As Appleinsider is nice enough to point out. In 2009, the cpmpany’s Zune HD music player was said to have “sold out” from resellers. (Although a local Gamespot I frequented was trying all sorts of promotions to sell a Zune, any model Zune, soon after its introduction.) Two years later saw the announcement that the Zune had been discontinued because of poor sales.
It’s possible the Surface Pro is indeed “flying off the shelves,” although I for one would love to see the actual sales numbers.