Sales of both versions of the Microsoft Surface tablet computer number just 1.5 million, four months after the software giant launched the devices in a fanfare of publicity. Furthermore, just 400,000 Surface Pros have been sold since its launch.
That compares with sales of 22.9 million Apple iPads in the last quarter of 2012, and a similar number of Android tablets.
While Microsoft has been reluctant to disclose figures, newswire Bloomberg claims that "people with knowledge of the company's sales" say that sales figures have fallen embarrassingly short.
The company had ordered three million Surface RTs, versions of the tablet computer that run Windows 8 on ARM microprocessors and which cannot run other Windows applications. Microsoft had, furthermore, expected to sell some two million of the devices in the run-up to Christmas.
Rumours of poor sales of the Surface RT were attributed to the expected launch of the Surface Pro. However, Bloomberg reports that only 400,000 of these high-end devices have been sold. Furthermore, the sales figures refer predominantly to sales into the channel, rather than sales to end users.
Sales of both versions of the Microsoft Surface have arguably been affected by their high prices and question marks over Windows 8. The Surface RT starts at a price of £479 in John Lewis, compared to £269 for an Apple iPad Mini or £399 for the latest full-size iPad. Android tablets start at less than £100.
The Surface Pro, meanwhile, is more expensive than a standard laptop, with a starting price of £899.
As a result, Microsoft is even further behind Apple and Google in tablet computer market share than it is in smartphones.
In 2012, Apple enjoyed a 51 per cent share of the tablet computer market, while Android accounted for 41.5 per cent, according to analysts IDC. Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT respectively are forecast to account for just 2.8 per cent and 1.9 per cent of the market in 2013.
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