Microsoft Should Kill the Surface

The latest data out of industry tracker IDC is encouraging for the tablet industry, but not so encouraging for Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) role in this booming market.

There were a whopping 49.2 million tablets shipped during the first three months of this year, well ahead of the 20.3 million devices that shipped during the first quarter of 2012. However, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iOS combined for more than 96% of the market. 

There were just 1.8 million Windows-based tablets shipped, and half of those were Microsoft's own Surface tablets. To put this into perspective, Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) shipped as many Kindle Fire devices -- the tablets, not the Kindle e-readers -- as Microsoft and all of its hardware partners did during this year's freshman quarter.

That's a problem.

In this video, longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz explores the reasons why Microsoft's Surface may be hurting its chances instead of helping. Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Read/Post Comments (15) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On May 03, 2013, at 9:55 PM, MBfool wrote:

    "Microsoft Should Kill the Surface"

    That is impossible. You cannot kill something that is already dead!

  • Report this Comment On May 03, 2013, at 11:53 PM, chilero wrote:

    You have to remember that most Surface sales were the Pro model which was available only in Canada, the USA and China in the first quarter. They also had some supply issues to deal with. One can hardly be disappointed with their share of the market from such limited distribution.

    To kill it would be to take a very short term view on Windows 8 and the tablet market. They'll be releasing cheaper 7-8" tablets both Surface and OEMs this year which will further boost market share.

    Without the Surface the Windows 8 share of the tablet market would be nothing. It was the Surface that got it started and will keep it growing.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 12:41 AM, Gomezz34 wrote:

    Where do you get 96%? Every single IDC report I've seen has Microsoft's tablets with a 7.5% market share. Plus, this is their first quarter with tablets, Apple and Google have only had a 3 year advantage

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 12:56 AM, tychicum wrote:

    The "Surface" is DOA. If one flush leaves some in the bowl ... flush again.

    Like MS "Bob" operating system it seemed like a good idea at the time ...

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 1:24 AM, daveshouston wrote:

    With Surface, Microsoft tried to make a combo tablet and computer -- a single device that can act as either a tablet or a computer.

    That's about like make a combo hammer - screwdriver. It can be done but it isn't pretty.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 2:16 AM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    Surface RT was a stupid idea, it is dead.

    Why is the still kickin'? Maybe it is not a bad product.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 2:21 AM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    why is the other one still kicking? is what i meant to say

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 2:22 AM, faust445 wrote:

    this is just silly FUD, probably paid for or instigated by either goog or aapl.

    the more important point you are missing is that it's about windows 8. and windows 8 tablets have sold more units in one quarter than android tablets have sold in their entire lifetime.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 4:20 AM, CloudPlatform wrote:

    Strange conclusion for a market that's in such infancy. Microsoft is all about the long game. Kill the surface, please, take a minute to think about that with a lens that's longer than your nose. We're just getting started in this new revolution of devices and form factors.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 5:12 AM, TheGr8est1 wrote:

    Its just a beginning of Microsoft's comeback. A lot of improvements from Microsoft lately. A lot of flexibility. A lot of potential. They did their analysis, reviewed their strategy, implemented new approaches. It takes time, but eventually Microsoft will rise. It has a lot of history and experience. Very soon we will see a better products and a better support from Microsoft. This "Behemoth" has a lot of "aces in their sleeves".

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 9:31 AM, UnbiasedOutlook wrote:

    I guess Rick's main point is that MS should allow hardware partners to market the Windows 8 tablet and get out of manufacturing and marketing its own Surface. Pretty clear that MS wants to emulate the Apple model for phones and tablets. The model that earned them lot of critque (but moolah) is being given up but picked up with sanitization by Google. It's a new strategy and they have to get that magic sauce which Apple seemed to wield so easily. Long chase I would say. Some honchos in MS need a rejig to get it right.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 10:45 AM, snommis69 wrote:

    Remember when Microsoft came out with the Xbox? People slammed the low sales and net losses on the hardware, declaring there was no way Microsoft could compete in the console arena. Fast forward to today, and the Xbox 360 has maintained the sales lead for over 25 quarters.

    I'm not saying that will happen with Surface, but all this hysterical screaming I've seen on MF about killing Windows 8 and/or Surface smacks of the same "wisdom".

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 10:48 AM, snommis69 wrote:

    *Correction: I meant months, not quarters. Oops.

  • Report this Comment On May 06, 2013, at 3:53 PM, fauxscot wrote:

    MS probably won't kill it. The embarrassment would kill MS.

    I was unimpressed by any aspect of the RT I played with last xmas. The Pro wasn't available, but I did like the keypad and the specs.

    The price and the usual MS-EATS-MUCH-OF-ANY-COMPUTER'S-MEMORY

  • Report this Comment On May 06, 2013, at 3:55 PM, fauxscot wrote:

    MS probably won't kill it. The embarrassment would kill MS.

    I was unimpressed by any aspect of the RT I played with last xmas. The Pro wasn't available, but I did like the keypad and the specs.

    The price and the usual MS-EATS-MUCH-OF-ANY-COMPUTER'S-MEMORY issue that later surfaced (pardon the pun) shot a big hole in the concept.

    I really don't know what to think about MS these days. Win8 is not going well, RT stinks, Pro is a disaster sales wise, bad PR everywhere. Just tragic.

    I do like my WIn7 box, though. Works fine. For many years to come, I am sure.

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