back to article Microsoft Surface Pro launch: It's easy to sell out of sod all stock

Microsoft’s Surface Pro went on sale on Saturday, but stockists almost immediately ran into shortages, provoking anger and frustration among potential fondlers. Redmond officially launched the 64GB and 128GB versions of its Intel tablet chunkster online and at selected retail outlets in the US and Canada at the weekend. But …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    On the Eadon train, there ARE no brakes!

    1. Silverburn

      I'd go further and say there was no driver at the controls either, apparently.

      1. Danny 14

        coffee meet keyboard.

  2. JDX Gold badge

    No desirable 128GB versions and too many 64GB ones

    Wasn't it El Reg who said the SD slot made the 64/128 question moot on Surface... better to buy a 64 version if the price difference is > a 64 gig SD card?

    1. Silverburn

      Re: No desirable 128GB versions and too many 64GB ones

      El Reg also said that recent droid tablets were better value than ipads...but people are still buying ipads in droves. Sometimes people just don't listen to sense.

    2. Moeluk

      Re: No desirable 128GB versions and too many 64GB ones

      I'm happy to be corrected, but that doesn't really help...because as far as I'm aware, if you want the Surface Pro, to actually store Apps and things on those SD cards, you have to go into regedit and change the default path for the system to save stuff to.

      That sounds like something every single person is going to be able to do right out of the box.....

      1. Paul Shirley

        @Moeluk "store Apps and things on those SD cards"

        Apart from games, it's going to be challenging filling even the 23Gb free on the 64Gb version with apps. On my desktop XP machine after 7 years, even with monsters like the MS sdk collections installed and a frankly stupid number of accumulated installs the entire OS partition never used more than 14Gb. Meanwhile Android has proven running apps from SD is a very bad idea and best avoided.

        Games of course can eat vast amounts of space but I struggle to see the Surface Pro as a gaming device. Price is too high for the performance delivered. Too high to buy as a toy.

        1. Not_The_Droids

          Re: @Moeluk "store Apps and things on those SD cards"

          As a "tablet" though, movies come to mind. It doesn't take long to fill up 23GB with movies if you're not fond of heavy pixellation. The movies on my tablet are 1-2 GB per.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No desirable 128GB versions and too many 64GB ones

      A 64Gb Ultrabook/Surface Pro is pointless. Part of a long tradition in the PC business to introduce a 'marketing model' for the price headline and the actual model any informed customer would buy. This has been happening since the 6502 and 8080 microcomputers in the 70s. Hopefully Surface Pro 2 will have 128Gb/256Gb options.

      Apple are the same with the MacBook Air, speaking of which surely the 11" MBA should be the comparison point for Surface Pro. Incidentally, given the Surface Pros extra features such as multitouch, tablet mode, stylus, Windows apps etc. why aren't we reading "MBA is dead" headlines?

  3. Bakunin

    Shock Comment from Microsoft HQ

    "What? People are actually buying these things?"

    1. Androgynous Crackwhore

      Re: Shock Comment from Microsoft HQ

      Yup. All ██████ of them.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy to sell out

    When you have f**k all to sell.

    The fanboys bought all three on sale.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Wow you're witty

      Didn't even bother to read the bit under the headline? Just had to come straight in here and spread your wisdom?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy to sell out

      Well that's two down votes, just waiting for the 3rd buyer now.

  5. The BigYin

    This is a standard tactic...

    ...used by Apple, Google, Nintendo et al. Deliberately under supply, then loads of clueless rags will run stories like "ZOMG! Surface Pro sold out!"

    And I'm not surprised no one wanted the 64GB version. How much room would be left after Win8 has been vomited into it? 2 bytes?

    At least the Surface Pro can have a proper OS installed on it.

    1. Moeluk

      Re: This is a standard tactic...

      "At least the Surface Pro can have a proper OS installed on it."

      Really cos I heard it was shipping with Windows 8 installed on it, Windows 8 is not a proper OS, hell it's not even a semi-coherant mess of an OS.

      1. Piro Silver badge

        Re: This is a standard tactic...

        I presume it is a standard x86-64 machine, so you could put anything you want on it. Maybe not.

      2. hplasm

        Re:Re: This is a standard tactic...

        "...can have..."

        That's the difference.

      3. The BigYin

        Re: This is a standard tactic...

        "Really cos I heard it was shipping with Windows 8 installed on it, Windows 8 is not a proper OS, "

        Hence why I said "can have" and not "does have".

        1. Moeluk

          Re: This is a standard tactic...

          ....except Secure Boot won't let you...yes you can get around it with a linux pre-loader, but thats just the shouldn't have to 'work around' stuff, to get stuff done.

          "Can have" should not imply, you require a level of technical knowledge, capable to make a hackintosh, to make it happen.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This is a standard tactic...

            Slag off Windows as "not proper" in some unspecified way, check

            Call secureboot a conspiracy, check

            I'll guess these as well:

            Doesn't have a job in the real world, check

            Thinks Eadon is a well balanced commentator, check

            Genuinely doesn't understand why people use Windows when Linux is much more easy, check

            1. Moeluk

              Re: This is a standard tactic...

     much hate, so little time.

              1) Correct, If i have to retrain 30 people just so Microsoft can sell a few shitty phones and tablets, i'd consider it not proper/an abuse of power.

              2), i just said Secureboot prevents you easily installing another OS


              1) Does running the infrastructure for an SME count as the real world?

              2) I can't really comment, I know who he is..but I don't read his posts as they are pretty much shouty rubbish

              3) I understand why people use windows, I wouldn't recommend linux to anyone outside the geek community (hell i woudn't even recommend it to myself..i've tried linux many times..and the hoops are just annoying after a while) However I don't understand why people voluntarily subject themselves to the shittyness and pain of Windows, when you could spend a bit more and have a basically zero maintenance machine called a Mac.

              But carry on the character assassination if you want. It's your time you're wasting, not mine.

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: This is a standard tactic...

                >...used by Apple, Google, Nintendo et al. Deliberately under supply, then loads of clueless rags will run stories like "ZOMG! Surface Pro sold out!"

                You have to think VERY carefully before spending a shed-load of money on extra production lines for what may prove be a short-lived spike in demand (or indeed a product flop)- you would be spending tens of millions of pounds just to get a few extra sales in the first month of release, sales you might get anyway.

                The ideal situation from a manufacturing engineer's perspective would be one production line working at a steady rate all year round. In defence of Nintendo, they do have a seasonal spike prior to Christmas.

                I'm not saying that these companies are upset by the free publicity, but it is grounded in manufacturing reality.

              2. Danny 14

                Re: This is a standard tactic...

                Moleuk. Dont bother arguing. I also run an infrastructure and have tried many times to reason with the lunatic, show examples and cost out differences. Eadon seems to have no knowledge of life outside a few systems, he doesnt understand how budgets work or that not all businesses have the money to strip out an existing infrastructure and build a perfect one. He seems to think the skill pool in a particular area is always laden with IT folk who will work for less than 15k and have linux guru status. He has no knowledge of MS licensing or how much something costs to maintain, roll out, update, upgrade, install or otherwise procure. He also thinks linux costs nothing to a business and can do anything for anyone. Anyone who says otherwise is simply shot down and shouted at.

                Like most things, computers and tablets are tools. The operating system they run is not a simple choice. I will use the correct tool for the job. Surface RT is not a tool for any of my jobs for the prices (reasonable tablet, stupid price). We have a few ipad 2's from when I evaluated them (again useless really). I will be getting a couple of surface pro's as they will join the domain and may have a use when/if they (or another clone) drop in price.

                Win8 desktop will be installed when I have absolutely no choice, it is fecking awful on a desktop, borderline completely unusable on a trackpad (but usable on a tablet). Until then it is downgrade rights ahoy for me. As for me?

          2. JDX Gold badge

            Re: This is a standard tactic...

            Your average user would not want to install a different OS even if it was made very easy so the point is moot... the kind of person interested in putting a new OS on their mobile device is the kind of person happy to jump through hoops to do so.

          3. The BigYin

            Re: This is a standard tactic...

            Epically wrong. To comply with the MS Win8 licensing terms, not only must the user be able to install their own keys but they must be able to disable SecureBoot.

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

              Re: This is a standard tactic... @The BigYin

              True. It's The Surface Windows RT devices that have the SecureBoot and the manufacturer is not permitted to allow this to be disabled and keys added and therefore boot a different OS.

              If there were anybody actually producing these things then I'm sure somewhere somebody would find a way around it, but that takes market desire for these devices and manufacturers to produce them.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Didn't Microsoft cut back manufacturing numbers for Surface Pro a few months back?

    Perhaps they wanted the Nintendo style sellout hype to work for them too, where you can sell any old crap to Americans too stupid to see they are being played.

    1. Arctic fox

      "Perhaps they wanted the Nintendo style sellout hype to work " Oh Barry really, you can........

      ........unlike Mr Eadon do better than that. Microsoft do indeed deserve criticism here but not for the reason you have suggested. Their only serious experience with the manufacture and sale of hardware over an extended period of time is in fact the xbox as well as a sideline in peripherals (mice, keyboards and the like). In my opinion they were so (at least until Sinofsky departed) preoccupied with trying to do an "apple" with Win RT that they failed to focus enough on the crucial area of touch-slabs and the enterprise sector. That should have been a no-brainer for them as far as ensuring that there were sufficient Surface Pro's available when they launched. This is not an example of trying to manipulate the headlines by running out of kit, this is a production cluster-fuck in relation to what they should have been capable of expecting with regard to the sales of Win RT slabs contra Win 8 - especially since if they don't keep enterprise they are dead in the water as far as tablets are concerned. I and many others in this forum and various other places have commented that MS might get one hell of a surprise with regard to which of these two versions of their operating system would be the one they should really keep their eye on. They have fucked up certainly - just not in the way you are suggesting.

  7. Asok Asus

    "Sell Out": Stupid Microsoft Marketing Trick?

    "It’s the latest proof that Microsoft has got its numbers completely wrong"

    Or not. The "sell out" may simply be a scam. Just look at the comments of those who attempted to buy this thing on Saturday:

    At best, only a couple of units were delivered to each store, and as can be seen, there are A LOT of pissed of Surface Pro customers who believe the "sell out" was simply a stupid Microsoft marketing trick.

    Of course, the other possibility besides the "sell out" being a scam is monumental ineptness on a scale beyond comprehension by one of the world's largest marketing corporations. For the latter to be true, some version of the following conversation had to have taken place:

    Microsoft Exec No. 1: "Gee, we just spent two billion dollars designing and manufacturing this thing and a billion dollars advertising the grand opening; how many should we ship to each store for the WORLD PREMIER GRAND OPENING?"

    Microsoft Exec No. 2: "Oh, I don't know. One or two?"

    Microsoft Exec No. 1: "Yeah, that sounds about right."

    Naturally Microsoft is staying mum about this disastrous product release, so we'll have to decide ourselves. So, take your pick:

    1. Monumental ineptness on a scale beyond comprehension by one of the world's largest marketing corporations.

    2. Stupid Microsoft marketing trick.

  8. Mark .

    To be fair

    Every other company seems to be doing the same thing these days, obviously having learned from the days when Apple got lots of publicity from it. (Plus if the 128GB version is in more demand, that's a good sign - the fear with these fancy high end tablet hybrids is that few want to spend that much money.)

    As long as they don't take as long as Google with the Nexus shortages, they're not doing that bad (do we even know what the story is? The Nexus 4 should be taking the smartphone world by storm; the Nexus 10 ends any reason to buy an ipad - except it's still hard to be getting either of them...)

    1. Toothpick

      Re: To be fair

      "the Nexus 10 ends any reason to buy an ipad"

      Not if the software I want or need is only available on the iPad.

      1. Dana W

        Re: To be fair

        I disagree, I like them both, and frankly no matter which one I have I miss aspects of the other. So I think they still easily both have a place.

        The reason I'm running the iPad "mini" just now is its easier to hold up through 2-3 hours of exercise every day.

      2. Toothpick

        Re: To be fair

        Interesting that my comment regarding buying an iPad over a Nexus because of software has been down voted.

        The Nexus could be a tenth of the price, have a battery life measured in weeks, have a million core processor etc etc but it would be fuck all use to me because it does not have the software I want.

        Believe it or not the iPad has software that Android devices don't have. The reverse is probably true

  9. Smoking Gun

    I'm with Eadon

    I'm a life long Microsoft fan but I'm with Eadon on this one. It's all a bit of a shambles.

    Microsoft want the cake and want to eat the whole lot too. They want to tap into the lucrative Enterprise market to compete against Apple but don't want to upset their OEM's.

    It's doomed to fail with this attitude.

    1. RyokuMas

      Re: I'm with Eadon

      No your not - you're about 2 paragraphs of anti-Microsoft ranting and a closing remark of "[Whatever] FAIL" (in caps) to be "with Eadon".

  10. jason 7

    In an alternative universe......

    ....Ms rolled out 5 million Surface Pros and got slagged off for only selling 1.5 million of them in the first week leaving retailers with masses of unsold stock after 7 days on sale.

    No win situation......

  11. meanioni

    Holy cow get a life!

    If there's one thing guaranteed to get most of the posters flaming each other on here its debate on operating systems, be it on a PC, phone or a tablet.

    I always find it amusing to see the passion that this induces as: *MY* o/s is better than yours, etc.

    Been in computing too long, have a Mac, PC running linux and PC running Win 8; have an Android tablet and phone and Win 8 phone (and have had iPhones and iPads) I find it hard these days to get passionate/excited about any of them.

    They're all flawed, all from evil megacorps and all do the same thing, some better, some worse than others...

    1. feanor

      Re: Holy cow get a life!

      @ meanioni

      "all from evil megacorps"

      I'm fascinated, which evil megacorp is Linux from then? And when will they be knocking on my door demanding payment for their product?

      1. Silverburn

        Re: Holy cow get a life!

        How about Redhat? They wear red hats. Ergo they must be evil. Well, their support pricing is, at least.

      2. meanioni

        Re: Holy cow get a life!

        My bad - you spotted the (not deliberate) mistake :-)

  12. msage
    Thumb Down

    Nexus 4...

    How come MS get slated, while the limited number of Nexus 4 is seen as a demand issue? I don't understand, there have been numerous articles about the supply issues of the Nexus 4, which launched with very few models in the supply chain....

    Then rather than stocking its own store, Google sold the stock to mobile providers who then went on to charge 3 or 4 times the amount as Google.

    MS bashing is boring. Move on. We all have to work with MS software whether we want to or not, that is the industry we work in at the moment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nexus 4...

      Did you see how many Nexus4 devices Google were shifting.

      Microsoft intentionally limited stock to make headlines and try and refloat their sunk product, Google just underestimated demand.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nexus 4...

        Because MS are Evil, which Google don't do, however much it may look like they do.....

      2. jason 7

        Re: Nexus 4...

        Hmmm yes cos the folks at Google are just too smart to not realise selling a top of the range smartphone for half the price wouldn't have been a sure fire hit.

        They didn't underestimate demand at all. They had already had dry runs of this marketing technique with the Nexus 7 etc. You want to tell me that Google makes those mistakes over and over?

        Make it scarce and buzz gets around and more folks want one. Being scarce isn't necessarily a bad thing, it doesn't reflect badly directly on the product. Folks hear about so many people wanting it and they want in too.

        You as a company look a bit of a twat but you just pull the "we didn't realise this product was going to be so danged popular defence!" Then once the buzz settles you release the 4 million in backstock into the channel.

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: Nexus 4...

          "Then once the buzz settles you release the 4 million in backstock into the channel."

          What does flooding the market only after the market has lost its interest achieve?

          1. jason 7

            Re: Nexus 4...

            No you just hold back until the press starts getting negative.

    2. Chemist

      Re: Nexus 4...

      "We all have to work with MS software whether we want to or not"

      Only the unlucky ones !

  13. clutch43

    Microsoft Surface; the laptop alternative that you can't use on your lap.

    1. mmeier

      Actually the form/weight factor works nicely on the lap as soon as you realize the added options. Let's face it if I use a "notebook" without a table etc. it is a best for browsing / watching videos / reading / short mails (at most). All that can be done nicely with a slate WITHOUT the keyboard. And since there is no battery etc. inside the KB leaving it in the bag/attache case is simple and reduces unit weight.

      With Surface-class penable devices (That have existed for a decade) I have the additional benefit of actually being able to take the minutes of a meeting or a conference even without the place to put a notebook (or netbook)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better not show this article to Paul Thurrott

    He gets rather rabid about people saying its all bluff

    1. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Better not show this article to Paul Thurrott

      C'mon, that's Thurrott, he's totally full of it - he's one of the biggest, most pathetic paid shills of MSFT, his entire *business* relies on constant MSFT cheerleading

  15. IGnatius T Foobar

    Fatal defect with this device

    There is a fatal defect with this device: it runs Windows.

  16. Levente Szileszky

    "incompetence and total willingness to accept that failure as an option..."

    ...well, that really sounds like Ballmer et his ilks and their past 10+ years tenure in MSFT Hell...

    "and then make it seem as though it was a great success for Microsoft."

    Ohhh, it IS BALLMER, I recognize the mark of the BEAST, along with that monstrous, diabolic cross-breed between CFO and CMO called Tami Reller on his side (can you believe *any* number a Chief Financial Officer is telling you when it's also coming out of the mouth of a Chief Marketing Officer?)

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. The_Regulator

    Win 7 Vs Win 8 Launch

    I always see comparisons between the launch of windows 7 and 8 but what never seems to be considered is the fact that when 7 launched there was a clamour for a new os due to how bad vista was perceived/received depending on viewpoint. With the launch of Win 8 there has not been that same sense of urgency because 7 is good for most people running a desk top environment.

    Personally I enjoy 8 more than 7 but that's just this readers opinion.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Win 7 Vs Win 8 Launch

      Yeah, the 'under the bonnet' features of Win 8 seem nice enough, but not too exciting or must-have. Native USB 3 support? I don't have the hardware yet. Storage Spaces? Could be handy, but would want to wait sometime and see how other people get on with it first, and explore alternatives.

      If there are other 'under the bonnet' improvements, MS have done a poor job of publicising them.

      As regards the UI of Win8, I haven't tried it. If I really don't like it, I'm sure it can be bodged into submission using 3rd party add-ons. It doesn't seem anything to get upset about.

  19. Cyberspice

    How fickle nerds are...

    Once upon a time Microsoft were the lords of evil. Now, to me, they're just the incompetent minion hiding under the stairs. However I'm amused at just how many of the comments which are even vaguely critical of the company are being voted down. Do you lot have short memories or are you all just 12?

    1. mmeier

      Re: How fickle nerds are...

      There are two types of critical comments:

      a) Those that critizise problems/erros

      b) Simple FUD-style bashing "because it is evil Microsoft"

      Win8 and the Surface/Pro have problem areas and things that could be done better. I would prefer user-upgradable/changeable SSD, Memory and batterie. I would like the "configureable" text entry window for handwriting from Win7 back (combined with the better Win8 engine), I would prefer Recovery DVD vs. Recovery partition....

      Typ a) is useful, type b) a waste of electrons and time (sorting through). I.e over on Amazon I am looking at a Samsung Ativ 500. Two "one star" comments. The Type b one tells me "this unit is <expletive> in a long winded way but not WHY. The Type a one tells me "connection with the dock is bad, Drive is slow..." giving me facts I can use in my decision to buy or not(1)

      So downvoting typ b is ultimately useful

      (1) Since I do not care for the dock and can live with the drive speed the unit is an option

  20. David Strum

    Oh the fat tanker is going round and round

    Round and round it goes, where the buck stops – nobody knows. It stops at Ballmer’s CEO door. The MS boys are just not inspired to steer the ship where it’s meant to go. It hasn’t hit an iceberg yet, still in deep Blue waters. When it does hit something hard – like a solid x86 non-Microsoft Operating System, then you’ll see the captain jump ship: I’m sure Ballmer will have an escape route contingency company somewhere to sneek to.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Oh the fat tanker is going round and round

      On servers there is one. Solaris is stable, mature and offers thinks like long term [10+ years] stable API and ABI. But it is mostly a server OS and licenses are costly

      On the client side only Mac OS is anywhere near and that is bound to overpriced hardware

  21. agricola

    "On Selling Out of an Empty Cart"


    "Mr Jones, I see your lamb chops are $4.69 per pound. Mr. Wasser, down the street, has lamb chops for only $4.25 per pound."

    "I suggest, my dear lady, that you go and buy lamb chops from Mr. Wasser."

    "Oh, but he sold all he had before noon."

    "Madam, let me tell you a butcher's dirty little secret: when I don't have lamb chops, I sell them for $3.99 per pound."

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