The Surface tablet represents a gamble for Microsoft, no matter what anyone claims one way or the other. A brand new device, running an all-new OS, from a company with no history making tablets, in a market where historically only one company has been truly successful.
Microsoft, of course, will use all that to claim the pressure's off, but don't believe it. And if the latest estimate of sub-1m sales for the quarter prove to be accurate, don't expect it to be happy with the result.
Forbes is quoting US brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton as saying quarterly sales of the Surface RT are likely to total 500,000 to 600,000 – well below the 1m-2m estimates that were knocking about a month ago.
The company goes on to slate the Surface's price, distribution channels and general quality, and says Microsoft's tablet strategy is “in disarray”.
Harsh words indeed, but it seems to think Microsoft could have done a better job had it at least opened up the Surface to be sold through the likes of Best Buy (in the US). A fair point, although that wouldn't have changed the price and overall quality, which it also points to as being sub-par.
Microsoft will no doubt be able to save face by a) not actually revealing any hard sales figures, as it's done with Windows Phone, and b) claiming it's the Surface for Windows 8 Pro that's the real Apple of its eye as far as tablets go (so to speak).