After just one day of pre-orders for its new Surface RT tablets, Microsoft has sold out of existing stock for the least expensive version of the device. Has the mobile device industry finally come up with a challenger for Apple’s iPad?
Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer reported, “Microsoft has exhausted its initial supply of the lowest-priced Surface RT tablet, which now is backordered by three weeks. On Wednesday, the company’s pre-order website noted, ‘Order now for shipment within 3 weeks’ for the $499 32GB tablet. That model lacks a cover-cum-keyboard.”
Wired’s Alexandra Chang observed, “Given that the Touch Cover is a major selling point of Surface RT, it’s a little odd that the model that doesn’t ship with one would be first to sell out. It’s possible that sales were driven people who want a cover in a color other than black, and are buying both separately. It’s also possible that Microsoft intentionally kept supply for the $500 model lower than the higher-end models. It’s unclear how many of this specific model Microsoft made available for pre-order. And the company isn’t spilling any beans, other than to let us know that more will be available.”
“So the big question, as it has been since the Surface was announced, is will the Surface be a threat to the iPad? Right now that remains to be seen,” said eWeek’s Wayne Rash. “It appears that the initial sales of the Surface have been brisk, resulting in a three-week wait time. However, we don’t know how many devices were available in the first place. The two more expensive versions of the Surface were still available for the first day of shipping when this column was written.”
GigaOm’s Kevin C. Tofel said that he believes Microsoft hasn’t made a compelling case for why consumers should buy the Surface RT and pointed out, “in three months, Microsoft will have the Surface Pro running Windows 8, not the Windows RT version on the currently available slate. Surface Pro is more likely to attract enterprises and such because it’s a full-powered machine with no Windows software limitations.”