Surface (table, left angled, red cover)

Steve Ballmer sounded pretty confident when his company debuted the Surface tablet last fall. At one point, he even said “I don’t think anybody has done a product that is the product that I see customers wanting,” implying that Microsoft had.

But I think by now, it’s pretty clear that’s not the case. Not only did the software giant have to eat $900 million in unsold Surfaces last quarter, but estimates based on a new SEC filing suggest that it’s only sold 1.7 million of them since launch…

GeekWire points to Microsoft’s 10K that it just filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which discloses that the company only made $853 million from its Surface lineup. The filing is annual, so it dates back to the tablet’s introduction.

“The company doesn’t disclose the number of units sold, and the range of products from the Surface RT to the Surface Pro makes it difficult to derive an average selling price.

But hypothetically, if the average price were $500 (the original price of the base-level Surface RT), the revenue figure suggests that total units sold were in the range of 1.7 million units as of the end of June.”

The site’s 1.7 million approximation is in line with a report from Bloomberg back in March, which estimated that Microsoft had sold 1.5 million units up to that point. For reference, Apple sold 14 million iPads last quarter, or about 1.2M per week.

And the company knows there’s a problem. Following a major fire sale, Ballmer hosted a closed-door town hall meeting last week where he reportedly admitted they’d built “a few more” Surfaces than they could sell. He also said a new one is in the works.

  • Boss

    They’d get a lot more if they put the price of the Surface Pro at $499

    • Rowan09

      I still don’t think they would price is not the only issue with the Surface and $500 for a failing product is way too much. The Pro is suppose to be a laptop but if I needed a laptop I can buy one for cheaper than the price of the Pro and with touchscreen running windows 8. Microsoft makes a product but also has competition against its own product at a fraction of the price.

      • Try taking notes on your vertical monitor Laptop, only then will you realise the selling point of a tablet form factor.

    • n0ahcruz3

      If the battery of the pRO will last more than 4 hours & at that price i will definately get one.

    • They sure will, but I see that only happening when the Macbook Air and other Intel i5 powered ultrabooks are priced similarly (maybe in the next 2 years). Can’t expect them to sell such high performance hardware at a low value when competitors aren’t doing the same…

    • Cesar D

      I will buy it at $19 and if they want.

  • rr

    poor microsoft..:/

  • Yunsar

    1.7 M? EPIC FAIL!!!

  • Christian Mejía

    Now it’s just time to give them all away for free 😀

  • mehrab

    Aww poor them

  • omrishtam

    Gahd! i can feel the burn…. yet they made ads about how much surface is better then iPad…. MicroFail…

  • Scott

    I won’t even consider getting one until the come down to HP Touchpad and BB Playbook fire sale prices ($100-$175).
    I am all for new tech and trying it out but I am not going to spend a small fortune on it if it is going to be a hard sell on it taking over my iPad usage.
    I understand it has MS Office but I use that once in a while, not everyday. It is my everyday usage of safari, mail, Netflix, Airvideo, splash top remote, Apple TV remote, Google drive, and some of the simple games that I use my iPad for. Nowhere did I mention a word processing or excel spreadsheet program/app. If I despritely need to do something like that I will use pages/numbers or google docs, or one of the other apps in the App Store. If I actually need MSW or MSE then I will switch to my netbook, or laptop, or Mac Mini.

    But like I said, for $100-175 I would be willing to give it a try.

  • seyss

    do you think there’ll be a Surface 2? imagine their decision.. continue to spend money improving a device that failed

    • Rowan09

      I agree what do they think they left out in the Surface now? I think it’s over once people hear the surface name they’ll be turned away. Another problem I believe Microsoft has is that they sell Windows 8 tablets which is in competition with their Surface tablet for a fraction of the price.

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Here’s a free tip for M$… make separate OS for tablet and separate OS for PC’s..

  • Remember Zune?

  • Liam Mulcahy

    better than nothing

  • William Melendez

    Microsoft needs to understand that apple has the tablet market on lock . They need to focus more on the xbox one gaming console to make up for their lost of a lot of money in a weak tablet.

    • Vitaliy Anonymous

      True, but you have to notice that every company has its peak before the downfall. You can see that by the rise in the market share with Apple’s Mac OSX.

  • blastingbigairs

    Anything Microsoft is bound to fail these days. Not a big surprise at all.