Weeks after Steven Sinofsky unexpectedly departed Microsoft, sources close to the component upstream supply chain in Asia say Microsoft has dramatically reduced orders for the Surface based on weaker than expected demand.
Digitimes reports that Microsoft has ordered its original device manufacturers (ODMs) in Asia responsible for the Surface to dramatically scale down production of the tablet from four million units this year to two million.
The site’s sources also report that internal chatter in Asustek Computer, Samsung Electronics and Dell all point to a much weaker than expected demand for their respective Windows RT devices.
Digitimes also notes that the weak reception of the Windows RT powered surface might hasten the release of the x86 Windows Surface Pro. There seems to be some truth to this rumour, as Microsoft began soft launching the device Wednesday by pushing out information on specs and pricing.
Earlier this month Steve Ballmer told the French news site Le Parisien that sales of the Surface were off to a “modest start”. Microsoft’s public relations regime later stepped in to clarify Mr. Ballmer’s remarks by stating “while our approach has been modest, Steve notes the reception to the device has been ‘fantastic’.”
For Microsoft, putting Windows 8 onto the ARM ecosystem was a risky but logical play with Mr. Sinofsky and his lieutenants being a vocal evangelists for putting Windows on the ever versatile chip ecosystem. While the traditional PC market continues to decline, the mobile market — which encompasses smartphones, tablets, and hybrids — has grown substantially. Within the mobile market ARM is the near hegemonic dominant player as ARM-licensed chips are in every best-selling device across every ecosystem.
Unfortunately for Mr. Sinofsky and Microsoft, this first set of sales data indicates that consumers prefer their Windows to be x86.