High Surface RT returns could point to deeper problems for Windows RT

Jon

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Microsoft's Surface RT tablet has a sales problem, according to new analyst estimates. Despite the almost omnipresent Surface RT advertising blitz that has been blanketing television screens for months now, IHS iSuppli believes that only 680,000 to 750,000 of the tablets have sold since the slate's October 26 launch, while IDC released a report Thursday stating that Microsoft only shipped 900,000 Surface RT tablets to retail.

If true, this is disappointing news for Microsoft. More worrying than the sales figures, however, is IHS iSuppli's report of "very high" return rates, which could hint at even greater concerns about Windows RT's very viability as a platform.

IHS iSuppli analyst Rhoda Alexander didn't disclose detailed return rate estimates during her chat with CNET, though she did say, "It seems to be linked in a lot of cases to a steep learning curve of the [Windows 8] OS—which is not necessarily intuitive."

In other words, the presumed cause for the high level of returns isn't a problem with the Surface RT tablet, which is a beautifully designed piece of hardware. It's an underlying problem with Windows RT itself—and it isn't the only one.

A quick word of caution
Before we dive into this too deeply, it's worth noting that many of the Surface RT tablets sold thus far probably sold via Microsoft's website and stores, as Staples and Best Buy—the only other retailers selling the slate—didn't begin offering it until mid-December. Microsoft doesn't share retail sales information with analysts, so iSuppli's estimates are far from official and likely gleaned from a mixture of third-party retailers and component channel sources.

In other words, the report of above-average Surface RT return rates is a highly educated guesstimate, not gospel. I've reached out to Microsoft, several retailers, and Windows RT tablet manufacturers to get a more concrete handle on return rates for the Surface RT and Windows RT devices in general.

Got it? Good. Let's talk Windows RT.

High Surface RT returns could point to deeper problems for Windows RT | PCWorld
 

DAB

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Oct 9, 2008
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I know of 2 people that have returned their Windows RT Tablets, but they are now awaiting the Windows Pro Tablet as they found the Windows RT tablet to limited.

I think MS gets another shot with the Pro version, but boy the priced it on the high end. When you have such stiff competition from Android (which basically Google/Amazon) gives away. Its tough market to crack into. Hell even Apple won't be able to hold market share very long when the competition is giving theirs away at cost.
 

voliconjoe

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windows 8 is very irritating and not fun. No one has time to learn a new interface except kids.
 

memebag

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Oct 11, 2008
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Windows 8 is actually pretty nice if you ignore the Metro screen. They've significantly improved the file explorer, task manager and performance monitor, and that's what really matters. If there was a way to disable the Metro screen Windows 8 I would seriously consider upgrading from 7.

Windows RT is a whole different beast. It only runs Windows RT apps (compiled to run on ARM, not Intel), of which there are very few.
 

Manco

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Oct 14, 2008
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I use my Surface/RT every day, actually love the form factor, the features and all my investment in learning translates directly to the desktop/laptop and visa/versa. I find it to be quite durable. I would be tempted as a second unit to get the Acer tablet based upon price, I have seen it on sale for $399 and it comes with an Intel Atom chip so no limits on what apps can be run. I just checked it's still on sale:
http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/productID.258409200
 

semipenguin

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I try not to retweet anything from Microsoft :)

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S III using Tapatalk :)
 

Manco

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Oct 14, 2008
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Surface2 is getting glowing reviews from actual users (the tech sites tend to be more biased towards Apple and Google). Just check the reviews at Best Buy and Amazon.

I also just checked, my local Best Buy's are all out of stock and so is the Microsoft Online Store. I wonder if they are now being too conservative in their inventory purchases after over ordering on the first gen.