back to article What's that, Microsoft? Yep, a Lumia and Surface SALES BOOM

Microsoft shipped a record number of Lumia smartphones in the final quarter of calendar year 2014, as Surface revenue finally started to make an impression. Microsoft reported that 10.5 million Lumias shipped, the most in a quarter, on the strength of low-cost devices. However, to put that in perspective, Samsung sold over 78 …

  1. Gordon 10
    Thumb Up

    Fair play to them

    On the hardware front at least. MS seem genuinely committed to producing good quality hardware and whilst the Surface 3 isn't to my taste I've been haunting eBay for a Surface 2 and am likely to take the plunge any day now.

    Probably still silly money as a straight out tablet replacement but as an ultraportable laptop it has some legs.

    1. AceRimmer

      Re: Fair play to them

      I'm holding out for Windows 10 to be properly released. If it does live up to its promise then I'll be very very tempted to ditch Android and unify my laptop and desktop OSs

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fair play to them

      They are at least marketing it as a laptop replacement now. The original surface was marketed as a tablet, and it went head to head with the iPad in the same price bracket and lost because it didn't do anything better and it didn't have the Apple badge on it.

      John Lewis have a Core i3 64GB Surface Pro 3 for £639 at the moment. £100 for a keyboard and you'll have spent £750 which, as you say, for an ultraportable laptop seems reasonable.

      1. Philippe

        Re: Fair play to them

        Well for £749 you get a macbook air with an i5 processor and 128Gb.

        Ok it has no touchscreen but I can't think of any reason to use touch on a laptop.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fair play to them

          The Lumia has an SD port which will take 128GB of extra storage, if you want it.

          And it has, as you say, no touchscreen. Touchscreen works extremely well on a small lightweight laptop with Win8. Try out the Lenovo Yoga and see what I mean. I was an absolute anti-Win8er until I tried it in touch format on the Yoga.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Fair play to them

          I have a Surface Pro 3 and it is my second touch enabled hybrid device. I certainly wouldn't want to go back to a Windows 7 device or a non-touch laptop.

          I find it is great. I don't always use touch, especially when it is docked, but it is very useful and I certainly wouldn't want to lose the additional input method.

          What is really good with a touch screen is it still makes all those idiots who dab their greasy fingers over your monitor! They've been pointing at things for years on other people's monitors and just leaving greasy finger prints all over the display. When they do it now, they get a shock as things actually react!

          It is also very useful for making truly interactive presentations for small audiences.

        3. Keith_C

          Re: Fair play to them

          > Well for £749 you get a macbook air with an i5 processor and 128Gb.

          Surface Pro 3 has a bigger screen, a higher resolution screen, and is lighter.

          >Ok it has no touchscreen but I can't think of any reason to use touch on a laptop.

          The on-screen keyboard is very usable, and the design of the kickstand gives a lot of adjustability for comfort. You also get a proper stylus/pen. You end up using is as a best-of-both-worlds cross between a tablet and a laptop.

          Must be said, while £850 for an i5+128GB seems a lot, it is an *excellent* piece of kit. You can also use it during takeoff/landing on a flight.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fair play to them

          "Ok it has no touchscreen but I can't think of any reason to use touch on a laptop."

          A touchscreen is massively useful on a laptop, just like it is on a tablet.

          And anyway a MacBook is made by Apple, is overpriced for the spec., and doesn't run most Windows applications without having to boot into Windows - which you have to go buy...and as an Apple product has the world most annoyingly incompatible with anything else and awkward to integrate eco-system tied to it.

    3. gregthecanuck

      Re: Fair play to them

      Actually it only has one leg. ;-)

      But yes the hardware is nice. Surface 3 I give an 8/10. Surface 4 should be a 9/10 with newer Intel 14nm CPUs and Windows 10.

  2. Otto is a bear.

    It's not so bad

    As I actually use a Nokia Lumia, an iPhone and a Samsung Tab, all in anger, I think I can actually say that the Lumia is not a bad phone, it's easier to use than the Samsung, but not the iPhone. However the Samsung is a much better take to meeting device.

    The thing is though, Apple make money with a premium product, Microsoft and Samsung, don't make that much, but Samsung has the volume. You do have to wonder how long the Lumia and Surface can last. My company provides Lumia and Surface by default in the UK, but really they are niche products and I wonder if they won't go the Blackberry way.

    If you have, and like either the Samsung devices or the iPhone, why would you swap there really isn't any caché in having one and cost wise, well....

    So far as apps go, who cares, they all have the ones you'ld want anyway, and once you've bought into an eco-system what would be the porting cost and hassle.

    1. ThomH

      Re: It's not so bad

      I have the Lumia 635 and impressions include: it's seemingly impossible to forward an image from email by text or any other medium; while listening to voicemail the phone frequently gets into a state whereby any tap to the screen acts the same as the sleep button, so I can never stop whichever message I'm listening to; if you hit the 'take photo' button really quickly when trying to add one to a text, the camera will crash, will then remain unusable across all applications and upon a reboot will appear to work but ignore any photos taken for a couple of minutes; an update released shortly after I got the phone broke my music library and left it entirely inaccessible for several months, a subsequent update has restored it but everything in my recent listens list is connected to the wrong music underneath so I'll tap one thing, hear another; standard instinctual practice when an app shows the 'resuming' animation is to switch back to the launcher and try again as whatever Windows Phone does to resume applications that have presumably been turfed from memory appears rarely to work.

      Also sometimes the OS just crashes of its own volition while doing nothing. I've had the phone for about five months now and that's happened only twice though. So I don't think it's common.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not so bad

        Sounds like someone sold you an Android device and told you it was a Lumia 635

        If your story is true, which I doubt, then perhaps you should return the phone and get a new one????

        1. ThomH

          Re: It's not so bad @AC

          If it's an Android device then it has a very unusual skin.

      2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: It's not so bad

        ": it's seemingly impossible to forward an image from email by text or any other medium;"

        Step by step (takes much longer to read than to do):

        1. Tap the image in your email. It will open full screen

        2. If no toolbar is visible at the bottom of the screen, tap the image once to reveal it.

        3. Tap the leftmost icon in bottom toolbar ("Share" - the one that looks like three tadpoles swimming in a circle)

        4. Choose the method by which you want to forward the image from the many, many choices. For MMS, choose "Messaging".

        5. (Optional) Compose your message text

        6. Tap the send icon.

        The only way "Messaging" would be absent is if your network operator forgot to provision your SIM for MMS - in this case, you won't be able to send any other picture messages either. Request the settings from them.

        1. ThomH

          Re: It's not so bad @Kristian Walsh

          That works perfectly, thanks! I have been completely lost because a long press on an image in both Messaging and Internet Explorer brings up an appropriate context menu: 'share picture' in IE, 'forward' in Messaging (which is just for texting onward, but that hasn't proven to be an issue for my use cases and the list of issues was explicitly personal). A long press in any of my inboxes reveals only 'save'. It's very inconsistent.

          Factor in that I am possibly an idiot. It took about a week to realise that the icon of a building with a door at the bottom is meant to be a floppy disk because, ummm, that means 'save'. I'm old enough to be very familiar with floppy disks, it's just that in the ten-or-fifteen years since I last saw one the mind has dulled.

          Having posted my negative comments about Windows Phone, intended to query its maturity, I'll balance with the positive: at the budget end of the market its a better choice than Android for many ordinary consumers because Microsoft doesn't allow the addition of uninstallable network or vendor additions. El Reg types might like that they generally still come with SD card slots. But I guess it depends on how app-obsessed you are. Now that DropBox is here I've no problems; prior to that using it as a handy video camera was almost unbearable. After doing some sterling work pushing over all my music when I first got the device, the Windows Phone desktop client simply no longer works and the phone's otherwise intelligent policy of shrinking video down to 6mb for email attachment isn't always all that helpful.

          In an ideal world, Google and Apple would heavily lift Battery Saver (starts aggressively killing background processes and throttles or disables timed things like email pulls automatically when the battery dips below 20% charged) and Data Sense (when supplied with your contract date and data limit, blocks background fetches and uses a web proxy to download lower quality images if you approach your data limit). Apple could do with broken-out email accounts right in the launcher.

    2. Simple Si

      Re: It's not so bad

      I have to agree with you on that one. I have a Lumia 1020 - procured it for free and would not have even considered purchasing one as I tend to prefer Android. The camera is top quality (why I am still using it), and the recent updates to catch up with android/IOS (pull down menu, cortanna etc) makes the device much easier to use.

      Works well with infrastructure in an Microsoft orientated organisation, but the range/quality of apps available is deffinetly the bigget obstacle for the platform. There is still no official Dropbox app :(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not so bad

        Dropbox is now officially available for WP

      2. hoverboy

        Re: It's not so bad

        An official Dropbox app came out last week. They got Rudy Huyn to write it; his CloudSix app was the best 3rd party Dropbox app.

        1. Simple Si
          Thumb Up

          Re: It's not so bad

          Awesome, thanks for the update on Dropbox being available - that makes Windows Phone so much better for me now, especially when linking to KeePass for my passwords using the open source Windows Phone 8.1 app, WinKee (hahaha awesome name!) (

          I had posted numerous requests on the Dropbox forum asking for support on Windows phone - assumed I would get an update when it was released but must have missed that. I knew I should have checked before saying it wasn't available. I had seen CloudSix, but was never keen on unofficial apps (using WinKee as open source and listed on KeePass website). Thanks for the update.

          For me it seems like Windows Phone will finally play a little nicer with my Android tablet.

      3. jaywin

        Re: It's not so bad

        No official Dropbox app you say?

      4. Fuzz

        Re: It's not so bad

        Dropbox app is out. It's not all that great though you can't open office docs edit them and then save them back to dropbox.

  3. Alex Read

    I'm happy with the surface

    I'm still using the surface1 (maybe the only person to buy one of them here?) as both a main laptop and tablet at home & am pretty happy with it.

    It has fast boot times, runs full office & Visual Studio & a handful of games. I've only been able to nuke it from a dodgy Windows update or trying to use Bitlocker (which blatantly wasn't tested & doesn't work with it).

    All in all not a bad little product, if a little expensive.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Avatar of They


    Surface 3 is nice piece of kit, I have played with one for a bit. But at the price to get a good one (512GB SDD and the i7 and decent RAM) with the add-ons you are talking nearer 2000. That is above imac-book-pro-air territory. Which is bigger and probably better. That is the problem.

    Still 10 million phones in a market of 1.1 billion. Yikes!!!!!!

    1. Hellcat

      Re: Wow....

      Reading around the i7 version is almost too powerful for the form factor. It's a real shame the disk space is directly tied to the processor spec. I'd be happy with the i3 if it had more GB of solid state.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Wow....

      Core i5/8GB/256GB is the sweet spot for the Surface Pro 3.

      I love mine, and since I bought one privately, everybody at the company who wants a new laptop is getting one.

    3. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Wow....

      The MacBook Air is cheaper because you're getting less.

      The Surface Pro matches the Air's CPU, RAM and SDD, but adds touch+pen input, a higher display resolution (2160x1440 vs 1440x900), and is significantly lighter (just under 1.0 kg with the keyboard, versus 1.35kg for the Air).

      The MacBook Pro "Retina display" is more expensive and heavier again - not really in the same class of device as Surface.

      (I currently use a MacBook Air when travelling, but I'm seriously looking at how I could work with a Pro3 instead)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surface 2 with Win 8 RT-edition

    Several months ago, Surface 2 was $300 Canadian. As mentioned above, the hardware is lovely. As seems to be the tradition with my other Win 8 *.* devices, the headphone audio has some inexplicable noises on it.

    Win 8.1 RT is less-daft than the original Win 8.0 that it came with. With Win 8.0 I had to Google to figure out how to access the Desktop, it involved Charm-searching for D E S K T O before it would appear; an obviously religious design decision. Win 8.1 is much better, the satanic tile belief system having been exorcised.

    The only significant residual issue is that I've not yet found a way to run any Ad Blocking; so YouTube is a less attractive user experience than it is on other devices.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Surface 2 with Win 8 RT-edition

      > The only significant residual issue is that I've not yet found a way to run any Ad Blocking; so YouTube is a less attractive user experience than it is on other devices

      Install Metrotube, no ads, except in some videos of course.

      And, as for having the desktop easily available, well, pinning it as a tile on the start screen seemed a kinda obvious short cut to me. I suppose typing D E S K and tapping might be easier than remembering where you left the icon?

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Surface 2 with Win 8 RT-edition

      Does RT allow full domain authentication?

      The MacBook Air still looks like a much better idea, even if you just install Windows on it.

  6. RyokuMas


    "Microsoft reported that 10.5 million Lumias shipped"

    Shipped != sold, Microsoft. We've done this dance before - let's get some sales figures, please, if only to end the speculation.

    That said - good job on getting things moving in the right direction. Here's hoping that things continue to pick up, another couple of players enter the game, and customers start getting some choice back.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Ahem...

      Yes, more choice in Lumias, especially at the high end - it is hard only having two or three phones to realistically choose from.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahem...

      "Shipped != sold, Microsoft. We've done this dance before - let's get some sales figures, please, if only to end the speculation."

      It pretty much does. They can't ship without customers to ship to. I'm pretty sure there is not a vast EU Lumia mountain hiding somewhere...

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    no surprise there

    given the amount that MS spent on advertising the Surface over Christmas.

    The other question is (apart from are they making a profit) is how their market share is looking?

    Then the thing that mayt well put this into perspective are the Apple numbers for their Q4.

    How many more iPhones than Luminas did they (apple) sell?

    1. fishman

      Re: no surprise there

      <<<given the amount that MS spent on advertising the Surface over Christmas.>>>

      In the US, Microsoft paid the NFL $400M to be their official tablet, and there are "Microsoft Surface" logos throughout the stadiums.

  8. Haro

    Keep on Truckin'

    Sony lost a lot of money for each ps3 that first came out. I bought one since I could see there was a factor of two involved somewhere. Then they screwed around with it so you couldn't use it as a media centre. I think the MS factor of two is that they must sell things at twice the cost to make money. But I wouldn't buy unless you see the factor of two is the other way, like Sony.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keep on Truckin'


  9. launcap Silver badge


    .. I found myself buying A Linx 10 tablet with "Windows 8.1 with Bing!" on it (in Sainsburys, for £129).

    Actually not a bad product. Won't run the Windows 10 Tech preview but ho-hum..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bizzarrely..

      Does the HDMI work OK with iPlayer 4oD etc? Some people on here were asking if it did or not.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Bizzarrely..

      Well, done. Now, see if you can work out the profit on the device for MS and Intel.

      This is why MS is reporting the number of phones shipped rather than any profit accruing. I'm not dissing the Surface Pros as I think they might be good notebook replacements, but that does sort of make a farce of them as tablets. Pretty much any of the cheaper devices are better for field work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bizzarrely..

        How much does Google make from <insert generic no-name brand here>?

        They don't care much about initial sales cost, the money these days is in after market sales. So even if they make a small loss, if someone buys an app or buys some music, they start to claw it back.

  10. Turtle

    Re: The Picture

    Interesting photograph. I see that they took a random derelict right off of skid row and had him give the presentation. Why they couldn't be bothered to shave and dress him in nice clothes is a bit of a mystery, though. I guess they would have had to give him *two* bottles of Thunderbird in order to have him consent to that kind of treatment, instead of the one bottle that their corporate budget allowed.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Consistant reporting please:

    Samsung 320 Million IN A YEAR

    1.1 Billion IN A YEAR

    10.5 Million IN A QUARTER

    Of course shipped != sold, but that's another argument.

  12. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Comparing shipped and sold figures again

    Perhaps there is a reason for that.

    1. hoverboy

      Re: Comparing shipped and sold figures again

      You may or may not have a point, but quoting known MS hater Ahonen in any discussion regarding Nokia/Microsoft adds no credibility. Notice how many of the figures are 'Ahonen Consulting Estimate?'

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge


        I tried your credibility link to a blog written by Anonymous ExNokian. AXN has convinced me that TA is being honest. The link complains about three graphs, and has a link promising to tell me what is wrong with the first graph and probably has similar links to the next two graphs, but I never got that far.

        The first graph illustrates Elop's promise to convert Nokia's smart phone customers into Winphone customers. TA says his graph is a tidied up version of one from slashgear. AXN points out that TA missed out 'not a prediction' from slashgear's graph, and changed the vertical axis from net sales mix to revenue mix. Both are careless/naughty mistakes, but both graphs clearly represent Elop's promise to convert all of Nokia's smart phone customers into Winphone customers. TA and AXN both have graphs for what really happened.

        AXN's graph shows the proportion of smart and dumb phones sold by Nokia. It looks a lot like the original 'not a prediction' graph, and makes it look like the 'not a prediction' graph was an accurate prediction.

        TA's graph includes a white region at the top that grows with time. The area represents Nokia's smart customers buying Android/iOS. Elop retained 3 out of 20 smart phone customers.

        AXN's graph is at best completely useless for checking Elop's promise to convert all of Nokia's smart phone customers into Winphone customers. What you need is something like TA's graph. Of course AXN disagrees with TA's numbers, and promises to explain in a link to another of his posts. I got part of the way through that, and found more rants, and promises to substantiate them in other articles.

        Where AXN does have numbers, they are numbers shipped, not numbers sold and they are often for only one region and not the whole world. Personally, I disagree with TA's assumption that the difference between 'units shipped' and 'units activated' represents unsold Lumia's in boxes with the retailers. I always thought Lumias were shipped out, shipped back and shipped to the region where Microsoft wanted to quote a large number of units shipped (opinion - no evidence).

        I would agree that TA rabidly despises Elop, and by association, does not like Microsoft at all. Where did this hatred come from? TA makes it quite clear that he is unhappy about Nokia's loss of profits, loss of unit sales and loss of market share, all of which happened while Elop was in charge. TA places almost all of the blame on Elop (Ballmer gets a some blame too). Given TA's feelings on the matter, I can understand why you might question his figures, and conclusions, but if you want to discredit TA, AXN is the wrong choice.

  13. Doug 3

    NFL kick in alone

    I wonder how much just the NFL MS Surface buy-in added to their numbers? Remembering that no only does the NFL get lots and lots of hardware devices there is also lots of Microsoft software bundled and then the advertising. That's 32 NFL teams and for rounding purposes at least 50 devices per team. There were hundreds of devices in this deal and millions of dollars but in the end, Microsoft essentially paid to have the devices used.

    As was mentioned, they also are still playing the game advertising units shipped and lets not forget about profits. IIRC, the XBox was great for them to talk about revenue and units shipped but the product line lost billions annually for half a decade or so and that was with really just one competitor(Sony).

    With their cash cows declining can and will they keep paying customers to use the products long enough for others to start thinking they are in it for the long haul?

  14. Will Wykeham

    This is what happens when you sort out your marketing and produce a clear message. "The tablet that can replace the laptop" is the line they should have been pushing all along, I'm glad they've got there finally.

  15. Inquisitive

    Looks like fingers crossed for Win 10 then.

    Basically Microsoft has a long way to go and all seems to hinge on Windows 10 and having just dipped a toe into the Windows 8.1 water with a Hipstreet W7 tablet from Carphone Warehouse for £49 I now have a little idea of what all the fuss has been about with W8. But the device I have just bought is not much good beyond surfing and checking e-mail as I have just found out you can't move some of the apps onto the memory card or indeed download any apps onto a memory card. That's not to say it doesn't work well for a £49 device but up to now I've been running Win7 and have an Android tablet and phone and have always had enough space to download stuff and move it around but although the Hipstreet W7 says its 16GB It's just about full running what it has already.

  16. 0laf Silver badge

    Don't tell anyone but users actually quite like the Surface3

    Surface3 getting a lot of interest from exec types. I guess the novelty factor for ipads has worn off and the need something new to wave around.

    Got a cheap Win8.1 tab the other day, having defended Win8 a few times over the years I've now had to use it in anger and although it is very snappy on low power equipment the user experience is a f**king dogs dinner and that's from someone that really quite likes WinPho8.1

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was more than happy to replace my iPhone 4s with a Lumia 930.

    1. Jess

      I was more than happy to replace my iPhone 4s with a Lumia 930.

      because you don't mind replacing a walled garden with a walled flowerbed?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Landfill Lumia

    These are mostly selling in low cost markets, where they are competing with low cost Android devices. I'm sure Microsoft wants to spin this as "we're catching up with iPhone and GS5" but a minority of the Lumias sold are in that class.

  19. Howard Hanek

    Microsoft Executives should outsource a coffin making business using all those surface slabs and include them as an employee benefit. Maybe they'll get some tax credits for them.......

  20. Jess

    The problem Microsoft has is

    Windows needs to be on x86 to be worth the bother.

    On small portable devices the processor of a bigger proportion of the power consumption and and the ARM is far more efficient, being a simpler device. And pretty much any improvement to the technology can be applied to both.

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