Many analysts have noted that Microsoft's Surface Pro and RT tablets aren't selling enough to be considered successes, but up until now, they had no numbers to back up their claims.
A new report published Friday claims that Microsoft has sold a combined 1.5 million Surface Pro and RT tablets. The Surface RT launched in October and makes up about 1.1 million of all Surfaces sold, while the Pro version, launched in February, has sold about 400,000 units.
Apparently, these numbers fall below even Microsoft's expectations. The company is said to have produced about 3 million Surface RTs, and one analyst even predicted that 2 million Surface RTs would be sold in December alone.
The news comes courtesy of Bloomberg, citing "people with knowledge of the company's sales."
"It's pretty clear that things were bad entering the year, and at least for the moment they're getting worse," said Alex Gauna, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC. "The path to a successful Surface, in the same way that they were successful with Xbox, is not very clear to me right now."
The Surface Pro and RT were significant gambles for Microsoft, but the company needs to figure out how to spur sales of Windows-based tablets as the PC market continues to shrink.
"The tide continues to go out on PC sales as consumers and emerging market users prefer tablets and smartphones to Windows based PCs," said Rick Sherlund, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. "Windows 8 has failed to ebb the receding tide."
What's more, hardware makers like Samsung continue to tear down Microsoft's Windows 8 platform. The South Korean company already decided it wouldn't be worth the cost to release a Windows RT tablet in the United States, and just last week it compared Windows 8 to the disastrous Windows Vista operating system.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung's new co-CEO J.K. Shin added even more fuel to the fire when asked about the company's relationship with Microsoft.
"Smartphones and tablets based on Microsoft's Windows operating system aren't selling very well," said Shin. "There is a preference in the market for Android. In Europe, we're also seeing lackluster demand for Windows-based products."
It doesn't seem like Samsung is going to be backing any Windows-powered products in the near future. Microsoft's challenge, then, is to do the heavy lifting by itself.