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Surface Pro Sold Out; Was It Just Understocked? 413

Posted by timothy
from the ladies-and-gentleman-just-a-few-left dept.
TechCrunch is one of the many outlets to report that Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet computer sold out on its first day of wide availability. Business Insider points to Reddit threads complaining that "selling out" was largely a product of not having all that many in stock to begin with, in some cases not even enough to cover pre-ordered devices.
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Surface Pro Sold Out; Was It Just Understocked?

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  • by kh31d4r (2591021) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @07:27PM (#42853907)
    Isn't that the definition?
  • O RLY? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @07:28PM (#42853919)

    Am I the only one here who's first thought was: "Well, if that's their story, they better stick to it..." ?

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @07:28PM (#42853925)

    I want this thing running linux before the month is out. I'd even settle for Windows 7. Just... not the Windows 8 abomination. Anything but that.

    If it weren't for the price, I rather like the idea of an x86 high-spec tablet. The android offerings have to make a lot of compromises to keep weight down and battery life up. The Surface pro doesn't: It's a lap-burning battery-sucking brick with processing power to rival a laptop. That's the type of tablet I want.

  • by ACluk90 (2618091) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @07:34PM (#42853967)

    Windows 8 is actually great for tablets. Have you tried it? And I seriously do not get why you hate the device's performance - get the RT version if you want long battery life and low specs. Or just any other table.

    Of course I would still like to see linux running on it.

  • by Secret Agent Man (915574) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @07:34PM (#42853973) Homepage

    So you'd settle for Windows 6.1 over Windows 6.2?

    I know people hate Metro on their desktops, but is there a reason it's so despised on what is its intended device use: a touch screen device?

    Outside of Metro, what's different between 8 and 7 (especially in tablet form)?

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday February 10, 2013 @07:50PM (#42854091)

    You know, it's silly to even have this type of "story" at Slashdot since it is a TROLL to began with. It does not matter what happens with Surface, since it's a Microsoft product, good bad or great, it will not get an unbiased review here.

  • Color me skeptical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wytten (163159) <wytten@nOspaM.cs.umn.edu> on Sunday February 10, 2013 @07:57PM (#42854131) Homepage

    All the pro-Surface stories I've seen over the last few months don't pass the sniff test.
    They all give me the impression that MS marketing is pulling out all the stops for this one,
    sensing serious implications if they fail.

  • by icebike (68054) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @08:02PM (#42854173)

    You know, it's silly to even have this type of "story" at Slashdot since it is a TROLL to began with. It does not matter what happens with Surface, since it's a Microsoft product, good bad or great, it will not get an unbiased review here.

    Exactly so. Much hated and despised and derided here on slashdot. Yes its heavy, thicker, and has a shorter battery life and costs more.
    So what? It still meshes perfectly with your existing software.

    Surface Pro will sell, because most businesses can simply write it off of their taxes, an put it immediately to use without having to first rewrite all of their corporate apps to run on IOS or Android, or Surface RT.

    With Surface PRO, you install your existing apps and go. Its that easy, and all of a sudden the shop floor has inventory management (or whatever) without having to leave workstations all over the place.

    I actually expect it to outsell Surface RT, because even though those apps written in C++ can (allegedly) be cross compiled for RT, not every company has access to the source of the commercial products they use, and not every company wants to jump through Microsoft's hoops to get their software released for RT.

  • Re:Surprised? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @08:06PM (#42854201)

    After the abject failure that was the Windows RT Surface, any real interest outside of the nerd community probably fell off of a cliff.

    The interest in Surface PRO is NOT in the nerd community.

    Its in the business community that can immediately use PRO without waiting for an RT version of the software they use every day to come out.

  • by Swampash (1131503) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @08:30PM (#42854347)

    Yeah, but Apple runs out of stock when it sells fifty million things in the first 48 hours after launch. Microsoft announcing "SOLD OUT" because it only sent one single unit to the retailer is a little bit different.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @08:38PM (#42854409)

    I think I've finally figured it out. One way of getting modded up on /. is to write a long, disorganized post that seems to be both sides of the topic being discussed, so that nobody can figure out where you stand, but you sure sound passionate about it.

  • Just zealotry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @09:04PM (#42854573)

    A lot of people on Slashdot decided Windows 8 was supposed to be bad. So now it is to them, regardless of any facts. They haven't actually used it to any significant degree, if at all, they just hate on it because they think they are supposed to hate it.

    You'll see the FUD crew out in full force about it. My favourite is that it is a "walled garden" and you can only run apps from the MS store. That is, of course, completely false. It runs anything Windows 7 ran. However the point isn't to spread information, but FUD to try and scare people away from using it.

    I'm certainly not a fan, since I think the look is a step backwards and Metro is retarded for the start menu, but I don't hate it. Get a start menu replacer and it works quite well.

  • by transporter_ii (986545) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @09:06PM (#42854583) Homepage

    Market strategy isn't working well for MS. In what I'm reading, Surface RT did 750,000 to maybe a million in 3 months. Asus is pushing a million a month for the Nexus 7. Rumor has it that the Surface RT had a very high return rate, as well.

    A separate report from IDC on the entire tablet industry in the last quarter doesn't even show Microsoft in the top five in the list of companies that had the most shipments of tablets. The report claims that Microsoft shipped "just shy of 900,000 units into the channel." Apple had the most tablet shipments for the quarter at 22.9 million units, followed by Samsung with 7.9 million units and Amazon with 6 million tablets.

    Amazon is beating out Microsoft? I bought a Nexus 7 and I can't really recall seeing much advertising for it at all. I'm seeing MS advertising left and right.

  • by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Sunday February 10, 2013 @10:11PM (#42854903)

    Surface Pro will sell, because most businesses can simply write it off of their taxes, an put it immediately to use without having to first rewrite all of their corporate apps to run on IOS or Android, or Surface RT.

    Er... is this before or after they downgrade the O/S to Windows 7, or possibly even XP?

    It's running Win8, which means 90% or corporate IT shops are going to eye it with tremendous suspicion, if not outright hostility, and unless your job title is a TLA starting with "C" and end with "O", odds are you're not even going to get a Surface Pro through the door.

    There are probably business users who'd find one of these things useful, but I highly doubt it'll be any with their own corporate applications.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday February 10, 2013 @10:19PM (#42854949) Journal

    If they purposely understocked the Nexus to make it look hotter than it was then they need to be called out on it, just as we are seeing sites call MSFT out for understocking to try to make Surface look like less of a fail.

    We already know SurfaceRT and Win 8 have bombed HARD, not only did MSFT not get the traditional Xmas bounce like they have had for every previous release for ages but sales actually went down 12%, and we've seen the WinPhone fail, MSFT blaming the OEMs because they wouldn't build $1000 WinTabs to join the Ultrabooks in the big pile of unwanted shit, look we ALL know the score here. But as a small shop owner there is one thing that made my mind up for anything Win 8 not to be had in my shop (The first since WinME) and that was the fact I had a beautiful Athlon triple system running win 8 for nearly 7 months and not ONE offer, not one. Nobody wanted it. I put win 7 on? It sold in 3 days.

    Will they sell SOME Surface pro units? Sure, there is a Zune owners club you know, in today's market you can find a small niche for just about any product. Look at what WinXP and Win 7 tablets sold and that will probably be what Surface pro sells, but at the end of the day Ballmer is bound and determined to make Windows a "premium" brand and that just isn't gonna happen, it would be like doing a re-release of the Pinto and having it priced to compete with Ferrari, it just ain't gonna happen. If he believes in metro so much he should spin it off and let THAT be the premium brand and Windows be the regular brand, but at the end of the day it just isn't gonna work this way. after all WHAT is the selling point of Surface pro? "You can use all your windows programs on it!". Really, so it is magically gonna make those millions of programs that were designed around a keyboard/mouse UI work on a touch UI?

    While I don't own any Apple products, I think they are overpriced and have too much control by Apple, i have to give credit where credit is due and they were SMART to not jam OSX on a tablet and call it an iPad. Trouble for MSFT is X86 backwards compatibility is really their only selling point. Nobody buys Windows because they LIKE MSFT or want to stare lovingly at a WinFlag, they buy it because they have a ton of software NOT written by MSFT they want to run. Apple didn't have that problem as the biggest apps like iTunes were owned by Apple. So at the end of the day while I'm sure they'll sell a few it sure as fuck isn't gonna "save the company" or be any kind of "iPad/Android killer" and they can lowball the units all they want, at the end of the day i predict it'll be another Zune.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday February 10, 2013 @10:36PM (#42855047) Journal

    Actually it will NOT sell except to a few niches like taking inventory and here is why: Business runs on OLD SOFTWARE. Check any business, be they large or small, and look at the age of the software. Business has tons and tons of old software because the cost of replacing it all would be insane and "if it ain't broke?".

    What does that have to do with Surface pro? simple what UI was all that old software written for? A mouse and keyboard. ever try to use mouse and keyboard software on a touchscreen? sucks big hairy balls as the software either has too small a target to hit or it doesn't know WTF you are trying to do and it becomes a guessing game to figure out WTF it'll take to get what you want in using the touchscreen.

    But this comes down to the core of what MSFT has a serious problem with and why they need to try to stop aping Apple and Google and ape IBM instead. You see Apple and Google? Its all Apple and Google software on Apple and Google hardware and backwards compatibility don't mean shit to them, this is the exact opposite of the MSFT situation where ALL they have going for them is backwards compatibility. Nobody buys MSFT OSes to look at the wallpaper, they buy it because they have an assload of older software not written by MSFT they need to run and all that software, billions of dollars worth, wasn't designed for touchscreens.

    Apple is ultimately a consumer electronics company, no different than those that sell TVs or consoles. Google is an ad company that don't have to worry about anything other than making sure the browser takes you to Google, MSFT is a 30 year old company with a shitload of software written by others that had damned well better "just work" and it just won't on a slab. This is why IBM makes a better company to ape, sell services to go with that software, but Ballmer can click his heels and say "There is no place like Cupertino" all he wants and he will never turn MSFT into Apple, its just two different business models that just don't work together.

  • Re:Just zealotry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArsonSmith (13997) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @10:51PM (#42855117) Journal

    You'd be right about that for me when vista came out. I never bothered to try it, heard it was bad, was fine on XP so just stayed there. After 7 had been out a while I realized that XP was a dead end and finally upgraded to 7. I tried 8 several times and I have to say it is somewhere just north of completely unusable. It is about as stupid as the office ribbon has been. Two years of trying to use that every freaking day and I still hate it every time I have to open an office app or look at email in outlook. Which I guess if nothing else it has forced me to do much more stuff in a cygwin xterm in plain text.

    Stupid stupid stupid. Sorry.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @11:19PM (#42855301)

    ... and you people were wondering what all the fuss about rounded corners was about.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @11:19PM (#42855303)

    Surface Pro will sell, because most businesses can simply write it off of their taxes, an put it immediately to use without having to first rewrite all of their corporate apps to run on IOS or Android, or Surface RT.

    Er... is this before or after they downgrade the O/S to Windows 7, or possibly even XP?

    It's running Win8, which means 90% or corporate IT shops are going to eye it with tremendous suspicion, if not outright hostility, and unless your job title is a TLA starting with "C" and end with "O", odds are you're not even going to get a Surface Pro through the door.

    There are probably business users who'd find one of these things useful, but I highly doubt it'll be any with their own corporate applications.

    Apparently, you'd be surprised. Large enterprises (at least the Fortune 20 company I've experience with) are moving to 8. It's not really any worse than 7 resource wise, and apps aren't required to go metro. Meanwhile, MS is touting better security and other things that enterprises want. Surface pro will be attractive, because there are no software changes required - load your applications on the tablet and go. Having a tablet that's slightly thicker or heavier than an iPad is a non issue compared to what you get - the complete absence of a need to rewrite your software.

    Now, I obviously have not seen any of these things purchased but it seems like a no brainier to me. Microsoft's got here what Apple used to tout all the time "It just works"... that is, assuming it does just work and there's not some big hidden pitfalls.

    Think of it like this, many enterprises are already "Microsoft shops". All the work they do to secure, stabilize, network, etc.. that all carries over to this device. With competing tablets, you have to redo *everything*.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2013 @11:33PM (#42855379)

    Having worked in IT at two wholesale outfits, I doubt it'll even do for inventory taking.

    Warehouses aren't very friendly with electronics, devices get dropped or stuff gets dropped on them, there's always dust, so every fan is extra time spent on servicing (and Surface has two).

    You need it as cheap, rugged and light as possible - Surface is neither. You can ease "rugged and light" requirement, say, if you put it on some kind of cart with a stand - and then you don't need Surface again, because you can just put a cheap laptop on that stand.

    I just can't see where it makes sense. In places where "it can do what a laptop could do!", you can get cheaper laptop, why Surface? In places where "it's a tablet, but it runs full Windows with all legacy applications!", there are no legacy application for use in those places, they're either still on Windows CE, or they're already on iOS/Android.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday February 10, 2013 @11:58PM (#42855495)
    Margins on these things tend to be pretty thin (and sometimes negative at product introduction), so the last thing you want is to have a bunch of inventory that's not moving. So at product introduction, you make fewer than your low-side estimate of your first month's sales. Then, once you see how it's received in the market, you either ramp up production or you don't.
  • Just projection (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Uberbah (647458) on Monday February 11, 2013 @12:00AM (#42855507)

    So now it is to them, regardless of any facts. They haven't actually used it to any significant degree, if at all, they just hate on it because they think they are supposed to hate it.

    Or...they have used it, or have seen the qualitative and/or qualitative reviews showing just why Windows 8 is a piece of shit. How it's not internally consistent, how mundane tasks are now hidden behind multiple layers of obscurity, and generally user hostile.

    But let's pretend a spade isn't a spade, and that it's all just a bunch of Haterz whining on the Intertubes. Were you pushing the same storyline when Windows ME was released? How about Bob?

  • by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Monday February 11, 2013 @12:32AM (#42855645)

    The fact that you have to get another app to bring the start menu back is evidence enough that Metro is not winning the hearts and minds. Why would you let a 13 year old use a Windows computer? Do you hate your son or something?

  • Re:Just zealotry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deathlizard (115856) on Monday February 11, 2013 @02:06AM (#42856075) Homepage Journal

    Don't forget, they like calling anyone who likes Win8 or Surface Pro a MS Marketing Shill.

    Frankly, the Surface Pro is one of the most powerful tablets for the price. Especially considering it has a Wacom Digitizer that's close to Cintiq level specs. Frankly, I could care less about three hour battery life, or two pound weight if it does absolutely everything my desktop can do with little to no compromise. And as for Windows 8, if it drives you so nuts, you could wipe the drive, turn off EFI and install whatever OS you want on the thing.

    I just find it interesting that people bashed the Surface RT because it didn't have Desktop Specs, and now they're bashing the Surface Pro because it doesn't have Tablet Specs.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday February 11, 2013 @02:30AM (#42856189)

    And do use it. I run Windows 8 on my work desktop full time. I'm our Windows support lead. So I have a pretty good feeling for it. I think it was a step backwards in terms of looks and usability. It's flat look is silly, particularly since the DWM is present and more powerful than ever. The start screen is also a very bad choice. While it is not hard to use, it is clumsy to use, it is worse than the start menu which is replaced.

    However that really isn't such a big deal. Technically it is a very good OS. It is fast and stable, it has some nice new features, and it runs all the software I've tested, and I've tested a lot.

    The major UI issue, the start menu, is easy to fix. You can get Classic Shell for free which does an ok job. For $5 you can get Start 8 which I love, it is a great replacement and very customizable. For $3 you can get Start is Back which actually restores the internal start menu to operation (most of the code is still there).

    Hence I tell people don't bother to upgrade, if you've 7 stick with it. However if you get a system with 8, don't downgrade, just get a start menu and call it good.

    Now if you have problems with 8, then that's fine, we can talk about them if you like. However just spurting vague shit is FUD, and that is mostly what we see. I see plenty of things about 8 that are flat out wrong.

    MS made bad choices, but it really isn't all that big a deal. You find that out pretty quick if you use it much.

  • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@sl[ ]dot.fi ... m ['ash' in gap]> on Monday February 11, 2013 @04:33AM (#42856583) Homepage

    Work to "secure" a windows environment is often wasted, since you will still have serious design flaws rendering all your hard work pointless...

    As for surface pro, windows tablets have been around for years and you can already run existing software on them... They have always failed while the ipad succeeded, and the surface pro only changes one of those reasons while leaving the others...

    1, The OS is not touch friendly, well windows 8 goes a long way towards fixing this but it still has its quirks...
    2, The apps are not touch friendly - installing your own existing apps isn't gonna be popular if they are unusable, you will end up rewriting them anyway at least to add a new touch friendly ui.
    3, The hardware is bulkier than an ipad or android device, with inferior battery life, surface pro still has this problem. For something your meant to carry around in one hand, bulky is not good.
    4, The hardware costs more - surface pro hasn't solved this either.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday February 11, 2013 @06:55AM (#42857069)

    If Apple sells out, it must be due to an exciting product. If Microsoft sells out it must be due to bad business.
    There are a lot of people who may actually want a high end tablet and a low end PC.
    The slashdot group may have problem with this because of...
    1. Our bias against Microsoft. Anything MS does must be wrong.
    2. Our refusal to accept anything new. All new technology isn't inovative or better and any design trade off is a majors big deal.
    3. Our commitment to the Desktop.
    4. Dislike of normal people getting into technology.

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