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Right now, customers can only buy the Surface RT tablet at Microsoft Stores

Reports on Microsoft's Surface tablet have been a mixed bag lately, but All Things D is pretty clear about its position: the demand and sales just aren't there.

All Things D recently spoke with Boston-based brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton about Microsoft's Surface RT tablet. The verdict? Microsoft better get its tablet out in other stores or it's going to sink.

"Lack of distribution is killing the product," said Detwiler Fenton. "Mixed reviews and a [$499] starting price tag certainly don't help, but lack of retail exposure at Best Buy and others is severely depressing sales."

Right now, customers can only buy the Surface RT tablet at Microsoft Stores. The problem with this is that there's only 31 of them, with another 34 smaller Microsoft kiosks around the U.S.

Due to this lack of presence in major retailers, Detwiler Fenton estimates that Microsoft will only sell 500,000 to 600,000 Surface RTs in the December quarter. This is a strong hit to previous estimates of 1 million to 2 million.

Recently, a pair of reports from both CNET and The Seattle Times showed differing views on how Windows 8-based touchscreen tablets, convertibles and laptops are faring. CNET spoke with IDC and IHS iSuppli analysts, who said retailers were having trouble keeping them on shelves due to high demand. However, The Seattle Times begged to differ, echoing Detwiler Fenton's concerns: there just aren't very many Windows 8 tablets out yet, and those that are are impossible to find. However, other Windows 8 tablets are sold in major retailers like Best Buy; not just Microsoft Stores.

Microsoft's Surface Pro is expected to be released in January, which will feature the Windows 8 Pro operating system instead of Windows RT for ARM-based tablets.

Source: All Things D

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RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By augiem on 12/8/2012 4:10:34 PM , Rating: 2
*MS isn't Apple* and doesn't want to be Apple

They most certainly do want to be Apple, and VERY badly. Just about every decision they've made since Gates left has been to try to make the company and the products more and more like Apple. (LOL at the Microsoft Store KIRF. Can't you at least TRY to design something yourself??) Even years before Gates left, you could see the same trends in the evolution of Windows. Now far more than ever, MS just plays "me too" to Apple's game, though now they're trying to even push ahead of Apple on the course they laid out bu unifying their OSs into a tablet-centric, walled-garden console model with a software distribution monopoly. It's really sad. MS = Apple, Jr.

Ballmer and all these analysts are fools to think that with 30 years of multi-billion dollar profits every year, they need to completely reinvent the company to imitate Apple's short-lived, but glorious 5-year success story. Apple is in the entertainment and fashion business, which is an inherantly unstable and fickle market.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By TakinYourPoints on 12/8/2012 4:53:36 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft has been playing "me too" to Apple for about thirty years, this is nothing new. The main difference here is that they're finally playing catch-up to new markets (portable integrated devices and high end laptops) that are far more profitable than the old desktop model that has sustained them for so long.

The execution with Windows 8 may be flawed but their thinking is sound, given the explosion in portable devices.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By inighthawki on 12/8/2012 6:56:01 PM , Rating: 3
30 years? Microsoft may have more or less stolen some ideas from them early on, but market share of PCs shows that for a huge chunk of the middle of that time, Apple has clearly been playing catchup with MS. Only recently with the iPhone and iPad have they really done anything that has caught on.

By TakinYourPoints on 12/8/2012 11:37:08 PM , Rating: 5
There is a difference between catching up on sales and catching up on execution. I only have about ten years experience with Macs compared to over twenty years with Microsoft operating systems, but in the time waiting for Vista there were many changes that happened in OS X (10.3 and 10.4 in particular) that Microsoft were clearly inspired by when it came to Vista and Windows 7.

You don't even need to look at the products (Windows, Zune, Surface), they were clearly paying attention based on internal email:

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By Argon18 on 12/10/2012 3:18:07 PM , Rating: 1
Apple playing catch-up to MS? Hardly. Microsoft is criticized for being late to market (i.e. playing "catch up") in nearly every market they enter. Tablets, Phones, heck even entering the browser market, Microsoft was mocked for being late to release Internet Explorer.

And when it comes to Operating Systems, Apple has leapfrogged Microsoft altogether. OSX is vastly superior to Windows because it's based on UNIX. The old OS9 and prior were crap - Apple had the wisdom to realize that. Rather than try to hack it together, they tossed the whole thing in the trash and started anew with OSX. It's light years ahead of the antiquated Windows OS model.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By wordsworm on 12/8/2012 11:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
I don't agree. Microsoft has been about giving power to the consumer. The consumer has always had the choice of buying software from anyone who wants to make it. Apple has a process. Microsoft made, and still makes, an OS that runs on any adequate machine. Apple does not.

I do not like Windows mobile. I am sure the next phone I have will have an Intel/W8 (desktop version) combination. I can run BlueStacks if I want to run Android apps, while having a real operating system at my disposal. I'd like to see one of those on the menu of a major telecom in Canada.

I haven't tried a W8 phone yet, so maybe it's better than W7? I do believe W8 is hands down their best desktop OS. It is simply the best OS I have ever had. It's fast, all the things that bugged me early on I've adapted to. I don't know if the naysayers to W8 have really given it a fair shake.

my 2c.

Just to add: I do see MS emulating Apple. They are going from the open garden that has served them well to the closed garden. I hope they will take a cue from Google and realize that it's the open garden concept which is the most popular now, not Apple's closed garden.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By MadMan007 on 12/9/2012 1:11:43 AM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 will never get a fair shot from the enthusiast community, but its slightly tweaked successor will be the 'best OS ever!' I think it's funny that enthusiasts are always happy to be bleeding edge in adopting new hardware, but then have a stroke and are unable to adapt when something changes with their Windows software.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By inighthawki on 12/9/2012 4:15:02 AM , Rating: 2
Probably because bleeding edge hardware is typically just faster. It would probably be a more accurate to compare a change in software to being like a change in hardware architecture. It's not just a faster version of the old one, it actually has differences.

A lot of people were (and some still are) hesitant to actually make use of their 64-bit processor by installing a 64-bit build of windows due to various reasons (Higher memory requirement, and there still exist a couple compatibility issues), despite it being an identical OS, just on a different architecture.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By JKflipflop98 on 12/9/2012 4:24:53 AM , Rating: 2
. . . but that's exactly his point. Those people that are still holding out on 64 bit O/S are doing so because they heard from their friend the imbecile that "64 bits have all kinds of issues running 32 bit software!" and now they have their mind made up.

They're the same idiots that never try anything for themselves, but are content to look at a screenshot and take someone else's word for it. "Bill says there's no start menu. Bill hates those big blocks." Bill the imbecile is failing to see those big blocks are the Start menu. You still get there the say way. It still works exactly like windows.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By inighthawki on 12/9/2012 2:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
I guess that's true, but maybe not the perfect anology to back up my point. Hardware enthusiasts don't always upgrade to bleeding edge technology.

It's common to do so with something like a CPU or GPU, because this years model is just the same thing with a 5% speed bump over last years model across the board. As soon as hardware changes, that's not always the case.

Look at the switch from HDD to SSD. SSDs at the time only provided a few benefits, but often had horrible random reads/writes, could be unstable, and would cost a fortune.

If suddenly hardware had a bunch of changes that changed the way we used it, it would have the same impact. Imagine everyone switched from x86 to a new proprietary architecture. Maybe it's faster clock for clock and more efficient or something - objective better than x86 in every way, but it can't run the software you want, it might be harder to develop for, etc. Not even the biggest enthusiasts are going to buy it because it's "new and better" if it requires such a large change.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/9/2012 3:52:27 PM , Rating: 2
A lot of people were (and some still are) hesitant to actually make use of their 64-bit processor by installing a 64-bit build of windows due to various reasons (Higher memory requirement, and there still exist a couple compatibility issues),
64 bit does not have a "higher memory requirement"...

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By inighthawki on 12/9/2012 4:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
64-bit windows uses more memory than 32-bit due to larger binaries and extra binaries loaded for things like WOW64. Also 99.99% of the time a 64-bit application will yield a larger binary size, often due to the larger pointer size and additional opcode support.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By Tony Swash on 12/9/2012 10:30:09 AM , Rating: 1
Windows 8 will never get a fair shot from the enthusiast community, but its slightly tweaked successor will be the 'best OS ever!'

Apparently the captain of the Titanic thought it's second voyage would be the best ever.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By Flunk on 12/9/2012 11:45:15 AM , Rating: 1
And apparently some people have extremely short memories.

RE: sigh, brokers and analysts
By TakinYourPoints on 12/9/2012 5:28:48 AM , Rating: 2
Neither desktop OS is closed, you can install software from anywhere. The inclusion of an app store doesn't automatically make it a walled garden.

Mobile operating systems are a different story, but it does aid the consumer in terms of security and quality control. The only things rejected these days are applications that have malware, expose user details to the developer without the user knowing it, or apps that bring down your device hard.

By TakinYourPoints on 12/9/2012 5:36:11 AM , Rating: 5
Another thing to note is that Google's "closed garden" isn't the most popular because of its developer ecosystem or user experience, it is because it is cheap for many people.

iOS mobile traffic, app usage, and developer revenue dwarfs that of Android despite there being many more Android devices out there. It is partly because Android runs on everything from dumbphones through featurephones through smartphones, and it is counted on all of them. iOS only runs on smartphones that are used online and run apps. Another reason is that iOS is simply more profitable for developers, there is less piracy (a benefit of the walled-garden), lower cost of support, and has more paying customers (again partly because iOS is all high end devices).

Microsoft mimicking Apple's approach in iOS makes sense for their mobile devices; it makes them accountable to give customers a good experience and it protects developer profits. Microsoft has actually been doing this sort of thing longer than Apple with the XBox game consoles, only difference being that Apple's mobile model gives a larger cut to developers than what is generally done on consoles.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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