The Surface RT arrived in the market with plenty of hope. Microsoft desperately wanted the idea to click so as to get some of that tablet marketshare. However, the concept was not well received by many and it led to the inevitable poor run of the tablet initially. Despite not being able to provide the complete Windows functionality, the Surface RT holds up pretty well on its own as a tablet. But analysts believe that the features of the tablet hardly had anything to do with the poor sales of the device. According to Detwiler Fenton, which is a brokerage firm based in Boston, the Surface RT didn’t get the right exposure in retail stores to impress potential buyers. This is very true as there are just 34 Microsoft Stores in and around the U.S. It’s not possible for every aspiring buyer to get hands on time with the device. The sheer lack of retail outlets is the reason people are shying away from the tablet, claims the analyst, while also adding that mixed reviews and the $499 price didn’t go in favor of the device either. If only Microsoft had put the tablet up for display at popular electronics stores like Best Buy, the Surface RT would have appealed to a lot more users. Many potential Surface RT buyers had to resort to alternatives from OEMs like Lenovo and others due to this.
With the limited availability of the tablet in retail stores, people were forced to watch advertisements or videos online of the tablet to get some sort of a feel of the device. Whereas for an iPad there are tons and tons of Apple Stores all over the world and Android tablets are put up for display in retail stores (not the Nexus 7 or Nexus 10 though). It is expected that Microsoft would be a little more open minded with its approach towards the Surface tablets, especially with the Surface Pro scheduled for launch early next year.
Microsoft is reported to have ordered for production of over 5 million Surface RT tablets. And since Microsoft isn’t exactly bragging of high volume of sales, it won’t be wrong to call the device an initial failure. The research firm expects Microsoft to only sell 500,000 to 600,000 units of the Surface RT this month. Now what Microsoft decides to do next with the device will be vital in the platform’s success. Windows RT after all is aimed at the top of the line tablet market and while accessories like the Touch Cover make it an appealing choice, it’s the limited availability that’s “killing” it. Surface Pro tablets will be priced even steeper, but will provide the full Windows functionality with Windows 8 Pro. So that should partially work in favor of Microsoft.