Shortly after its release, Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet has already become difficult to find across many US retailers
Bill Gates already has one, but some shoppers looking for Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet were out of luck when they went looking for the tablet this weekend.
The company’s online store quickly sold out of the 128 GB Surface Pro and remains out of stock as of this writing. On the other hand, the 64 GB version is available and ready to ship.
Best Buy’s website points to across the board shortages of both versions. The 64 GB and 128 GB versions of the device are not available for shipping from Best Buy and few physical Best Buy locations have them in stock.
At Staples, the 128 GB model is out of stock and listed as an “online only” offering. The 64 GB version is only available in select locations, and even then, they report low – and presumably dwindling – stock.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s retail distribution strategy is coming under fire again. When Surface RT launched, the company was criticised for making the device available only through its online and brick and mortar stores, which crimped demand.
Now, even with more retail partners onboard, Microsoft can’t seem to properly gauge the market.
Those that couldn’t get their hands on a Surface Pro on Saturday flooded tech websites and blogs. Amidst some early impressions and a smattering of criticisms, several commenters on sites such as Engadget said that their efforts to buy one were fruitless.
Most of Best Buy and Staples locations that they phoned or visited in person received only a few units, or in some cases, just one tablet.
Microsoft is working on it, according to Panos Panay, corporate vice president and Surface head. He used Twitter to respond to the numerous reports of a Surface Pro shortage.
“We’re excited for the response to Pro. Some are having trouble getting it. Sorry you’re having to wait. We’re working hard to get u Pro ASAP,” tweeted Panay.
The software giant has reason to get more Surface Pro into the marketplace. Apple, eyeing an opportunity in the enterprise, started selling a 128 GB version the iPad just days before Surface Pro was released.
Unlike the less costly RT version ($499 to start), the Surface Pro ($899) is powered by an x86 processor from Intel, enabling it to run Windows 8 Pro and by extension practically all of the software written for the Windows ecosystem. The ARM-based Surface RT can only run Windows 8 style apps (formerly Metro).
Reviews are mixed, although most praise having the power and performance of a laptop in a tablet form factor. Among the negatives are its un-tablet-like battery life and a software image that takes a big bite out of the device’s built-in storage.
In a Reddit AMA (ask me anything), Panay and the Surface team responded to the Surface Pro storage controversy. They replied, “Initial reports out regarding available disk space were conservative (e.g. 23GB available on 64GB and 83GB available on the 128GB system), however our final production units are coming in with ~6-7GB additional free space.”
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Originally published on eWeek.