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Surface Pro sells out, but low supply angers customers

Surface pro

By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 11 Feb 2013 at 10:55

Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet has sold out in many stores, but the company is facing questions over just how many of the devices were available at launch.

Launch day stock shortages of the 128GB version tablet have led to questions over whether Microsoft deliberately limited supply to generate a buzz - a charge recently levelled at Google over the Nexus 4 handset, although manufacturer LG said Google had merely underestimated demand. Plus, Microsoft's production could be held back by an ongoing shortage of touchscreen panels.

A Microsoft blog post trumpeting Surface Pro launch has been swamped with complaints from customers who went to shops in the US as well as to Microsoft's online store only to come away disappointed.

We’re working with our retail partners who are currently out of stock of the 128GB Surface Pro

"I found this to be one of the most disappointing and pathetic product launches by a technology company in recent history," posted Albion in a comment that reflected many complaints. "I went to two store openings (a Staples and a Best Buy). Staples did not have any 128GB models and only one or two 64GB models. Best Buy had two Surfaces that were already reserved for pre-orders."

"As others have mentioned, I went to Microsoft Store site online (starting on Friday night) only to find that the 128GB was sold out, and you could not even place a back order."

Online pre-orders?

Sold out launches can create a buzz, but would-be customers also criticised the way Microsoft wasn't accepting pre-orders for when stock does become available again.

"Why doesn't the Microsoft online store accept orders and provide estimated delivery dates with an option to opt out?" asked hskp. "That is basic online retail support. If I want a Surface Pro I have to waste my time canvassing the Microsoft Store, Best Buy and Staples. Frankly, a competitive product is starting to look real good."

Other posters complained that even pre-ordered devices hadn't been ready for collection.

"Coming soon"

Microsoft said it was working on getting more hardware out as quickly as possible, but it's given no details on the apparent lack of 128GB models.

"Customer response to the launch of Surface Pro has been amazing," the company said in the blog post. "We’re working with our retail partners who are currently out of stock of the 128GB Surface Pro to replenish supplies as quickly as possible. Our priority is to ensure that every customer gets their new Surface Pro as soon as possible."

Microsoft has yet to respond to request for comment on the availability issues, and hasn't yet announced UK availability.

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User comments

Hmmmmm....

Sounds suspiciously like the crap way that MS\Nokia have promoted WP8, with low\no availability of the gadgets people actually want (i.e. the 920).

Of course the tech press was very negative about the whole Surface project, including Surface Pro. I guess MS can be forgiven for thinking it is a turkey, and not having any stock.

Alternatively (my suspicion) this iteration is merely a stop-gap 'til they can get a Haswell-based version out. Consequently they're trying to damp-down demand until then.

By wittgenfrog on 11 Feb 2013

@wittgenfrog

Also, with the RT, the 32GB sold out quickly, whilst nobody wanted the more expensive 64GB model... If they went on that basis and stocked up on 64GB models and didn't deliver as many 128GB models, that could explain the problems.

The Pro model is going to be bought by people who want a real PC in tablet form and they will most likely be more tech savvy and go for the 128GB model.

By big_D on 11 Feb 2013

billy bargain

What's all the fuss for? just saw a 128gb version on sale on EBay £1005.

Bargain!

By Zippy204 on 11 Feb 2013

@Big_D

Yes indeed, but surely all the brainy guys at MS will have figured that out?? :-)

By wittgenfrog on 13 Feb 2013

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