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It's Official: Microsoft's Surface Is a Hit

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Just in time for an Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) event that's expected to introduce the world to a mini version of the hot-selling iPad today, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) has reportedly sold out all pre-orders for its new Surface tablet here in the U.S. and two versions in the U.K.

Low-end sales have been especially brisk. Within 24 hours of taking orders for the new tablets using a low-power chipset based on ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH  ) designs, a $499 Wi-Fi-only version sold out domestically. All models were sold out as of yesterday, G4TV reported .

In the U.K., limited pre-order releases of the 32-gigabyte Surface and an edition with the Touch Cover keyboard were sold out as of this morning, ZDNet reports. And that's in spite of a lukewarm response from some corners of the punditocracy.

My Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz on Sunday listed several potential hurdles for the Surface. Over at The Wall Street Journal, tech reviewer Walter Mossberg says Microsoft "deserves credit for giving Windows a new, modern, face" while noting that the software design will require some users to relearn what had been "the most familiar computing system on the planet."

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 23, 2012, at 11:42 AM, SimchaStein wrote:

    Classic Foolish article. "Sold out" = how many sold? Without that fact, we learn nothing. Only a fool would buy the newsletter if this is the level of info and insight - basically zero.

  • Report this Comment On October 23, 2012, at 12:51 PM, lucasmonger wrote:

    I agree with SimchaStein. If MS announces 1M+ units preordered, then OK, it's a hit. If they only had 10-20K units available, then being sold out carries little weight.

    It also seems silly that Microsoft doesn't offer the 64GB version without the black cover, thus forcing people to buy two covers if they want the extra memory and a colored cover. This coming from a company who touted the virtues of choice during the PC era.

    Only time will tell whether enough people will jump onboard the late-to-the-party Windows 8 bandwagon. It's a nice, shiny new object to play with. We'll see if it can make a dent in the iPad dominance.

  • Report this Comment On October 23, 2012, at 2:40 PM, kthor wrote:

    I would also like to know how many units were sold...

  • Report this Comment On October 24, 2012, at 5:02 AM, H3D wrote:

    Looks like the author is too embarrassed to even attempt to defend this stupidity.

  • Report this Comment On October 24, 2012, at 8:28 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @H3D and all,

    >>Looks like the author is too embarrassed to even attempt to defend this stupidity.

    With due respect, that's a ridiculous comment.

    Microsoft hasn't released unit numbers yet. At some point it will, but here's a bothersome question that needs answering from the critics here:

    What if this were Apple we were talking about? What if Apple had sold out pre-orders of the entire iPad Mini line?

    You know the answer, of course. I'm just point out the silly double-standard.

    Thanks for writing and Foolish best,



    Tim Beyers

    TMFMileHigh, Motley Fool Rule Breakers Analyst, Supernova Odyssey I Portfolio Contributor


  • Report this Comment On October 24, 2012, at 8:33 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    One quick follow-up.

    Estimates say Microsoft is targeting at least 3 million Surface tabs sold with this release. Now that pre-orders sold out, the odds of achieving that number have risen dramatically:

    Thanks again for the comments everyone.

    Foolish best,



    Tim Beyers

    TMFMileHigh, Motley Fool Rule Breakers Analyst, Supernova Odyssey I Portfolio Contributor


  • Report this Comment On October 24, 2012, at 1:19 PM, TMFCrocoStimpy wrote:

    This product actually really intrigues me, though the price point just feels wrong. There is an inherently huge customer base that is comfortable with the idea of Windows, and I believe that will offset some of the bias towards lower priced android systems (my wife is definitely in this camp - an irrational but definitive desire to stay away from android). But they are going directly up against the 4th generation iPad, so it will be the battle of comfort and 1st generation hardware/software vs. the refinement of Apple. The hoopla over 5,000 apps vs 275,000 apps is just that, if you have ever actually scanned through the variety of those 275,000 apps. I've used iDevices for many years and when all is said and done there are probably only a half dozen apps that I use on a regular basis, so I'm not actually worried about Microsoft's ecosystem development over the next year or so.

    Luckily I've got a Microsoft Store just down the street, so checking one out in person will be easy. If it were half the price I'd justify picking one up just for playing with some app development, but at this price the hardware implementation is going to need to be a bit more convincing to pry some cash out of my hands.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 5:05 PM, Archaeologist77 wrote:

    Let's give Microsoft the fair chance and see what happens. I agree with those who are doubtful about the Surface and think they should have focused on developing MS Office for iOS and Android...especially MS Outlook.

    But here's a link to a few decent reviews:

    The $499 Surface with Windows RT doesn't have MS Outlook, which when I buy my next "mini" laptop will be a primary factor in my decision so I won't go with the $499 Surface.

    The Surface with Windows Pro will run the full Office suite, but the price will probably justify me jumping up to the class-act MacBook Air...if the flash drive memory goes down as for $1000 want more than 65 GB.


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