Hot on the heels of multiple reports of poor Windows 8 uptake, a new report claims that Microsoft itself has slashed production orders for its own Surface RT tablet, which could be considered the flagship device for the new generation of Windows tablets.
The information comes from DigiTimes’ anonymous sources in the “upstream supply chain,” who claim that Microsoft originally expected to ship 4 million Surface tablets by the end of the year, but recently cut that number in half, to 2 million units. By comparison, Apple sold 14 million iPads last quarter alone.
DigiTimes has a reputation for hit-and-miss accuracy in its reporting, but this tidbit neatly coincides with information coming from multiple third-party industry sources. Senior executives at both Asus and Newegg have mentioned lackluster consumer interest in Windows 8, and perhaps more critically for the Surface itself, NPD announced this morning that Windows tablets account for less than one percent of all Windows 8 device sales.
Poor Surface RT sales could prompt Microsoft to release the Surface Pro and its full-blow Windows 8 installation this year rather than in January, the supply sources speculate — and for a lower price than Microsoft initially intended.
Windows 8 and RT was supposed to kickstart Microsoft’s mobile ambitions, but on the back of these early numbers, you have to wonder if the new Live Tile interface and a tablet price point equal or higher than the iPad’s is truly a winning combination.