Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Janet I. Tu.
Topic: surface rt
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October 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM
Microsoft has put the Windows RT 8.1 update back in the Windows Store after pulling it several days ago when some users experienced difficulties.
Here’s what the company said in a statement in the Microsoft Community support forum:
August 15, 2013 at 8:33 AM
Microsoft is allowing a few resellers in 17 additional countries to sell the Surface tablets to commercial, education and public-sector customers.
This follows on a program the company launched last month in the U.S. allowing business buyers to purchase Surface tablets and commercial services through authorized resellers.
Today’s announcement expands the program to Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. A list of the authorized resellers is here. Microsoft says it will choose additional partners in those markets in the coming weeks.
Microsoft has been making a push to expand sales of its Surface tablets with discounts on both its Surface RT and Surface Pro models, new commercials and the new reseller distribution programs. The company has never said how many units its has sold but said in a filing with the SEC that it made in $853 million in revenue for the Surface in the last fiscal year, ended June 30. A Bloomberg story from March estimated the company had sold about 1.5 million units. In its fourth fiscal quarter, the company took a $900 million writedown for Surface RT inventory adjustments — mainly the $150 price cut the company placed on those devices.
August 13, 2013 at 8:34 AM
[Update Aug. 14: My story, running in the Aug. 14 print edition of The Seattle Times, on the lawsuit is here.]
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Microsoft on behalf of shareholders who say they were misled by Microsoft executives about how well the Surface RT tablets were selling.
July 30, 2013 at 3:11 PM
Microsoft made $853 million in sales of its Surface tablets in the past fiscal year — almost as much as it had to write down as part of its recent price-cutting on the Surface RT tablets.
The company disclosed that revenue figure in a document it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
July 19, 2013 at 9:36 AM
A day after Microsoft announced it was taking nearly a billion-dollar write-down on Surface RT inventory, it’s releasing a new ad pitting it against the iPad and touting the Surface RT’s now-lower price.
Of course, the lower price — a $150 reduction — is the reason Microsoft took a $900 million write-down in its fiscal fourth quarter on the Surface RT inventory in the first place.
July 19, 2013 at 9:00 AM
[This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times July 19, 2013.]
Microsoft missed big in the fourth-quarter earnings it reported Thursday — hit especially hard on the sales side by the slumping PC market and on the profit side by a write-down in the inventory of Surface RT tablets.
Also a factor was Microsoft’s shift in how it sells some of its products, most notably Office. The company is moving away from selling traditional software licenses, where people pay a licensing fee upfront, toward a subscription model, where people pay in installments over time.
For the quarter ended June 30, Microsoft posted revenue of $19.9 billion with earnings per share of 59 cents on profit of $4.97 billion. Those figures reflect a $900 million write-down of Surface RT inventory related to a price-reduction offer for those devices.
Adjusted for that write-down, Microsoft says earnings per share would be 66 cents.
That still would have fallen short of analysts’ expectations of $20.7 billion in quarterly revenue and earnings per share of 75 cents.
All of these trends — the PC sales decline; Microsoft’s shift toward subscription fees and cloud-based services; and lukewarm demand for Windows 8 in general and the Surface tablet in particular — have “been building up for some time,” said David Cearley, an analyst with research firm Gartner.
“Some of it seems to have come to a head” in the fourth quarter, he said.
For the fiscal year, Microsoft also fell short of analysts’ estimates, posting revenue of $77.85 billion, profit of $21.86 billion and earnings per share of $2.58.
Analysts had expected revenue of $78.69 billion and earnings per share of $2.75.
Microsoft shares took a hit after the earnings report came out, trading after hours Thursday at $33.21, down $2.23, or about 6.3 percent.
Up from last year
Still, the fourth quarter and fiscal year results were up from last year’s.
In the fourth quarter of last year, Microsoft posted revenue of $18.06 billion, net loss of $492 million, and loss per share of 6 cents.
Those figures reflected some unusual events such as a write-down of the 2007 acquisition of online ad company aQuantive and deferred revenue from a Windows 8 upgrade offer.
Adjusting for those items, Microsoft had fourth-quarter 2012 revenue and earnings per share of $18.6 billion and 73 cents.
For the full year 2012, the company posted revenue of $73.7 billion and earnings per share of $2 on profit of $16.98 billion. (Those figures include the aQuantive write-down and deferred Windows 8 upgrade offer revenue.)
“In many ways, our fourth-quarter trends continued many of the trends we’ve seen earlier this year,” Amy Hood, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, said during a conference call with analysts Thursday afternoon.
One such trend is the continued decline in PC shipments, which several research firms said dropped 11 percent in the second quarter from a year ago.
Hood, who became CFO in May, also acknowledged the difficulties Microsoft is facing in what some call the “post-PC era” and what Microsoft likes to refer to as the “PC-plus era.”
“We are working to transition the business into this modern era of computing,” Hood said. “Given the complexity of the ecosystem, this journey will take time.”
Hood touted some of the company’s accomplishments, including a record $22.4 billion in unearned revenue — basically, money corporations have committed to Microsoft via multiyear licenses.
July 15, 2013 at 7:07 AM
Microsoft has dropped the price on its Surface RT tablets.
The 32 GB price has dropped from $499 to $349; the 64 GB from $599 to $449.
A keyboard Touch Cover to go along with the tablet will cost $100 extra. The Type Cover, with a more traditional keyboard feel, will still cost $130 extra.
Surface RT is the less expensive, less powerful version of Microsoft’s Surface tablets. While the more powerful Surface Pro runs Windows 8 and is backwards compatible with programs that run on current or past versions of Windows, the Surface RT runs a sort of “Windows 8 lite” that is not backwards compatible and works only with apps designed for the new Windows 8 tile interface.
Microsoft has never revealed sales figures for its Surface tablets, but analysts have estimated that sales of the Surface RT have been below expectations and lagged behind those of the Surface Pro.
May 31, 2013 at 1:21 PM
From today until June 30, Microsoft is throwing in a free Touch or Type cover with the purchase of a Surface RT in the U.S. or Canada.
Usually the covers sell for $120 for the Touch cover and $130 for the limited edition Touch cover (which features the work of several designers) and for the Type cover (which has a more springy key action than the Touch cover).
The official blog post on the limited-time offer indicates that, in addition to the Microsoft Store, Best Buy and Staples are also offering the deal.
We’ve asked Microsoft what the impetus was for the deal and if early Surface RT adopters who paid for the covers might get any kind of refund or rebate. We’ll post the response when we get it.
May 1, 2013 at 1:22 PM
Microsoft has landed among the top 5 tablet vendors worldwide for the first time, according to research firm IDC.
In the first quarter of the year, Microsoft shipped about 900,000 units of its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets — most of those Surface Pro, according to IDC estimates.
But “beyond the Surface products, Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets continued to struggle to gain traction in the market,” according to the IDC news release, which also noted that total combined Windows 8 and Windows RT shipments across all vendors reached 1.8 million units.
Microsoft’s share of the market, though, was still tiny at 1.8 percent. Leading the market were Apple and Samsung. Coming in fourth was Amazon.com, with 3.7 percent.
Here’s IDC’s chart:
March 14, 2013 at 4:02 PM
Surface sales may have reached about 1.5 million, with about 400,000 of those coming from sales of the Surface Pro, according to Bloomberg.
Microsoft has sold about a million of its Surface RT tablets — far less than the 3 million the company ordered, Bloomberg reported, citing three people who asked not to be named. It’s also trying to revamp its marketing for the device, according ot Bloomberg.
The more powerful Surface Pro tablets, which launched in February, faced apparent initial supply problems, with both Microsoft Stores and retail stores such as Best Buy and Staples not having some versions of the Surface Pro in stock during the initial launch weeks.
[Update 3/15/13: To put the numbers into an overall tablet market context, in 2012, 128.3 million tablets were shipped worldwide, according to IDC. That's up from 72 million in 2011.]