By Zach Epstein
Published December 26, 2012
The new Microsoft Surface, the company’s answer to the iPad? (Microsoft Corp.)
A “kickstand” built into the tablet props it at an ideal angle for typing or desktop work. (Microsoft Corp.)
Oct. 16, 2012: Colorful covers for the Surface tablet, with a flexible, integrated keyboard, are seen in the company’s industrial design studio in Redmond, Wash. (Microsoft)
While it does have drawbacks just like anything else, Microsoft’s Surface is a great slate for those looking for a fresh new take on the modern tablet.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like very many people were looking for one this holiday season.
‘Microsoft’s Surface … was not recommended to us by reps without us asking about it specifically.’
– R.W. Baird analyst William Power
In a recent note to investors, R.W. Baird analyst William Power recounted recent conversations had at retailers including Best Buy and Staples. While speaking with sales reps at the stores, Apple’s iPad was the most highly recommended tablet while Amazon’s Kindle Fire line and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line were both recommended as alternatives.
Microsoft’s Surface tablet, on the other hand, was not pushed by reps at either chain.
From Power’s note, as picked up by Barron’s:
“Microsoft’s Surface, which Best Buy just recently started carrying, was not recommended to us by reps without us asking about it specifically. When asked about sales to date, reps noted that the device was new and indicated that early demand has been modest relative to the iPad and Kindle Fire.”
“We would also note that the device was in stock at every store we contacted … We contacted Staples stores in an effort to further gauge Microsoft Surface sales, though our impression from speaking with reps was tablets are not a major seller at Staples. Tellingly, Staples doesn’t currently carry the iPad.”
“When pressed for details, Staples reps indicated that Surface volumes have been modest to date. Most reps told us that the primary appeal to Surface buyers is the ability to run Microsoft Office. Consistent with our Best Buy checks, the Surface was also in stock at all Staples stores we contacted. Outside of the Surface, the Google Nexus 10 was cited as another strong tablet option.”
Further supporting the idea that Microsoft’s debut tablet wasn’t a big seller this holiday season, Twitter user A.X. Ian did a quick analysis of tweets discussing new tablets during a 24-hour period around Christmas Eve.
Based on his data, 1,795 people tweeted about getting a new iPad during that time span while 250 tweeted about their new Kindle Fires, 100 mentioned their new Nexus 10 tablets and just 36 tweets were posted by users who had received a new Surface.