When just about every other tech site on the planet saw a dud in Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface with Windows RT tablet, we saw gorgeous hardware and a great deal of potential. Even after using it for a month, we still found a lot to like about Microsoft’s debut Windows slate and said if and when the company irons out Windows RT’s wrinkles, the company could have a real winner on its hands. According to a new report, however, the Surface has been anything but a winner so far.
Citing unnamed sources within Microsoft’s supply chain, Digitimes on Thursday reports that demand for the Surface isn’t coming anywhere close to meeting Microsoft’s early expectations. While limited launch supply caused some early excitement when preorders for the tablet sold out on Microsoft’s website, shipments into channels have apparently been far slower than the Redmond, Washington-based company had hoped.
According to the report, Microsoft recently cut its orders with Far East supply chain partners in half. Digitimes’ sources say Microsoft had initially called for 4 million Surface tablets to be built and shipped by the end of 2012, but that figure now sits at 2 million. For comparison — since Microsoft has repeatedly positioned its Windows RT-powered Surface tablet as an iPad competitor — Apple (AAPL) sold approximately 4.7 million iPads per month last quarter.
The report also notes that demand for Windows RT devices from vendors including Dell (DELL), Asus and Samsung (005930) has been weak, and the poor reception to Windows RT may force Microsoft to launch its Surface Pro tablet with Windows 8 ahead of schedule in December.