Microsoft’s holiday season is shaping up to be memorable, but not in the way the Redmond company would prefer. John Paczkowski of All Things D has a piece up that slams Microsoft’s tablet strategy. Quoting an analyst from a Boston brokerage firm, Paczkowski makes the point that the retail strategy for the Surface is making it a non-mover for the holidays:
Microsoft is likely to sell just 500,000 to 600,000 Surface RTs in the December quarter, far below its previous expectation of one million to two million.
Compare that to the millions upon millions of iPads being sold, as well as the decent performance of other tablets, and the market is painting a rather dreary picture for Microsoft.
Many assumed that such exclusives as the Microsoft Office suite would make the Surface RT a strong performer going in to the holidays, though that doesn’t seem to be the case. The lack of distribution along with the high price and relatively disappointing technical specifications (lower resolution screen, in particular) have severely harmed the device.
The Surface Pro seems unlikely to turn this trend around, either: it will also be restricted to Microsoft’s retail stores, and the price of the device is even higher than that of the Surface RT. Ironically, it seems as if Microsoft will have to depend upon third parties to make a dent in the sales of the iPad and other Android-based tablets, though even those third parties aren’t as inclined to put an unproven OS and an unstable ecosystem on their tablets when Android is so readily available.
Until the second generation of Surface tablets comes along, it doesn’t look as if Windows RT will be the premier OS for tablets and other mobile devices. Microsoft desperately needs a flagship tablet, but one doesn’t seem ready to appear.