Although Microsoft doesn’t report on how many Surface tablets it sells, the company does report revenue from this device line. While the revenue figure for last quarter indicates comparatively strong sales, it still makes it clear Microsoft is well behind its competition.
The company took in $500 million from the sale of tablets over first three months of this year, which Microsoft says is up over 50% from the same quarter of 2013, when the original Surface Pro was released.
Q1 revenue was down from the $893 million it took in during the previous quarter, but Q4 is generally the highest in sales for every tablet maker because of the busy holiday shopping season.
Microsoft’s Surface revenue last quarter topped the $400 million it took in from sales in Q3 by 25%. This is unusual, as Q1 is generally the slowest quarter for tablet sales. This could be an indication that interest in the Surface line is growing.
How Many Surface Units Sold?
Turning quarterly revenue into units sold is a dicey business at best, as prices for Microsoft’s tablets vary widely: the original Surface RT is still available for $300, while the top-of-the-line version of the Surface Pro 2 sells for $1,800. This means Microsoft sold somewhere between 278,000 and 1.67 million units last quarter.
Market research has shown that the original Surface RT is Microsoft’s most popular model by a wide margin… possibly making up as much as 85% of its tablet sales. If the $300 model is 85% of sales, the $500 Surface 2 is 10%, and the $900 one is 5% then this company could have sold in the neighborhood of 1.55 million tablets in Q1.
While this is certainly a definite year-over-year increase, for comparison, industry-leader Apple sold 16.4 million tablets in the same period.
UPDATE: Previously, this article included a very different mix of the tablet models Microsoft sold, with the more expensive model predominating. This put the estimate for the total number under a million. The new figures are more accurate. We appologize for this mistake.