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11/27/2013
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Microsoft Surface Barely Registers On Web Usage

Microsoft Surface tablets are still getting crushed by the iPad, web use data shows.

Microsoft's ARM-powered Surface tablets have become more popular in North America in the month since the Surface 2 debuted. But the growth has stemmed as much from price cuts to the original model, the Surface RT, as from demand for the new version. The devices also generated less than one-sixtieth the web traffic generated by Apple's iPads.

Those are the conclusions of a report released Wednesday by the online ad network Chitika. It tracked web use among North American tablet users for the four weeks following the Surface 2's Oct. 22 launch, focusing on tablets other than iPads. It found that the Surface RT and Surface 2 combined for 6.5% of all non-iPad tablet traffic.

The Surface RT was responsible for most of this traffic -- 93.6% of combined Surface RT/Surface 2 use. Given that the Surface RT has been available much longer than the Surface 2, it is not surprising that it accounts for more traffic, but the disparity is striking.

[ How does the Surface 2 stack up against the iPad Air? Read iPad Air vs. Surface 2: 9 Considerations. ]

When iPads are included, the ARM-based Surface line was responsible for less than 1.3% of total tablet web use, Chitika said. The Surface 2 accounted for less than 0.083%.

It should be pointed out that use share is only one measure of tablet performance. In marketshare, IDC reports that iPads accounted for less than 30% of third-quarter shipments. Chitika draws statistics from millions of ad impressions spread across a network of more than 300,000 sites.

Apple CEO Tim Cook frequently cites use statistics when dismissing the marketshare that iOS devices have lost to Android-based competitors, which now account for more than half of all tablet shipments. Cook's argument is that most Android tablets are low-cost "junk" devices that end up unused in the owner's desk drawer. Apple's tablets, in contrast, tap into arguably the most developed mobile ecosystem on the market, so iPads represent revenue streams and developer opportunities that outpace their relatively modest slice of the market.

Whether or not you buy Cook's premise, marketshare statistics don't flatter the Surface tablets any more than use figures do. IDC said in October that Windows slates still lack consumer support, and that Microsoft was not one of the top five tablet vendors during the third quarter. It did not specify Microsoft's marketshare, but it reported that fifth-place Acer shipped 1.2 million tablets, which was good enough for only 2.5% of the market.

Microsoft's Surface 2.
Microsoft's Surface 2.

But Chitika's numbers affirm that the Surface is improving, slowly but steadily. The Surface RT hit the market with a thud, forcing Microsoft to declare a nearly $1 billion writedown on unsold inventory. But the company slashed prices in July, bringing the base configuration to $349, and it has said that sales have improved since then. Chitika's numbers support this story; the device accounted for only 3.3% of non-iPad web traffic in June, but that figure had grown to 5.7% by the end of September.

This suggests the Surface line's upward trajectory has been motivated by falling prices as much as the Surface's vastly improved package. The extent to which Windows RT 8.1 has made the original Surface RT more usable is another consideration.

Still, the 0.7 percentage points Microsoft has gained since launching the Surface 2 fare relatively well compared to at least one key competitor. Amazon's Kindle devices lost 1.8 percentage points during the same period.

That said, Chitika found that, excluding Apple, Kindles were the most used tablets in North America, with almost one-third of non-iPad traffic. Samsung ranked second, with almost 29.6% -- an improvement of 2.1 percentage points that Chitika attributed to new models. Google was third (8.2%), followed by Barnes & Noble (7%), and Microsoft (6.4%).

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cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
11/27/2013 | 5:00:44 PM
Kindle lives up to loss leader billing
Amazon's investment in the Kindle and Kindle Fire appear to be not only plowing money into a loss leader but a loss leader that's losing ground.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
11/27/2013 | 4:00:45 PM
Re: MS Surface usage numbers
For what it's worth, Chromebooks barely register in web usage stats too.
Stephane Parent
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Stephane Parent,
User Rank: Strategist
11/27/2013 | 3:44:15 PM
Surface 1?
The article talks about numbers for the Surface RT and Surface 2. What about the Surface 1, aka Surface Pro?

Are the numbers included under Surface 2?

Has anyone figured out if it's the RT or Pro version that are shown on Grey's Anatomy
UberGoober
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UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
11/27/2013 | 11:07:26 AM
Why do we care?
The Surface isn't popular.  It is no secret, people don't buy it.  I peraonally attribute a lot of the problem to Windows 8, which is widely hated (and the RT issue is confusing to many buyers), but there's just not a compelling cost/benefit story here.  Why would I buy a M$ tablet when there are so many good Android tablets, as well as the iPads for those willing to join the iBorg.  Would it be the smaller app store, the higher prices, or the clown-makeup UI that would attract me? 

 

All that said, then, why are the writers for IW trying so hard to find a success story?  The failure of Win8RT tablets is old news.
UberGoober
0%
100%
UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
11/27/2013 | 11:06:23 AM
Why do we care?
The Surface isn't popular.  It is no secret, people don't buy it.  I peraonally attribute a lot of the problem to Windows 8, which is widely hated (and the RT issue is confusing to many buyers), but there's just not a compelling cost/benefit story here.  Why would I buy a M$ tablet when there are so many good Android tablets, as well as the iPads for those willing to join the iBorg.  Would it be the smaller app store, the higher prices, or the clown-makeup UI that would attract me? 

 

All that said, then, why are the writers for IW trying so hard to find a success story?  The failure of Win8RT tablets is old news.
UberGoober
0%
100%
UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
11/27/2013 | 11:04:56 AM
Re: MS Surface usage numbers
The Surface isn't popular.  It is no secret, people don't buy it.  I peraonally attribute a lot of the problem to Windows 8, which is widely hated (and the RT issue is confusing to many buyers), but there's just not a compelling cost/benefit story here.  Why would I buy a M$ tablet when there are so many good Android tablets, as well as the iPads for those willing to join the iBorg.  Would it be the smaller app store, the higher prices, or the clown-makeup UI that would attract me? 

 

All that said, then, why are the writers for IW trying so hard to find a success story?  The failure of Win8RT tablets is old news.
UberGoober
0%
100%
UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
11/27/2013 | 11:04:45 AM
Re: MS Surface usage numbers
The Surface isn't popular.  It is no secret, people don't buy it.  I peraonally attribute a lot of the problem to Windows 8, which is widely hated (and the RT issue is confusing to many buyers), but there's just not a compelling cost/benefit story here.  Why would I buy a M$ tablet when there are so many good Android tablets, as well as the iPads for those willing to join the iBorg.  Would it be the smaller app store, the higher prices, or the clown-makeup UI that would attract me? 

 

All that said, then, why are the writers for IW trying so hard to find a success story?  The failure of Win8RT tablets is old news.
UberGoober
0%
100%
UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
11/27/2013 | 11:03:34 AM
Re: MS Surface usage numbers
The Surface isn't popular.  It is no secret, people don't buy it.  I peraonally attribute a lot of the problem to Windows 8, which is widely hated (and the RT issue is confusing to many buyers), but there's just not a compelling cost/benefit story here.  Why would I buy a M$ tablet when there are so many good Android tablets, as well as the iPads for those willing to join the iBorg.  Would it be the smaller app store, the higher prices, or the clown-makeup UI that would attract me? 

 

All that said, then, why are the writers for IW trying so hard to find a success story?  The failure of Win8RT tablets is old news.
UberGoober
0%
100%
UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
11/27/2013 | 11:03:03 AM
Re: MS Surface usage numbers
The Surface isn't popular.  It is no secret, people don't buy it.  I peraonally attribute a lot of the problem to Windows 8, which is widely hated (and the RT issue is confusing to many buyers), but there's just not a compelling cost/benefit story here.  Why would I buy a M$ tablet when there are so many good Android tablets, as well as the iPads for those willing to join the iBorg.  Would it be the smaller app store, the higher prices, or the clown-makeup UI that would attract me? 

 

All that said, then, why are the writers for IW trying so hard to find a success story?  The failure of Win8RT tablets is old news.
Michael Endler
50%
50%
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/27/2013 | 10:41:15 AM
Re: MS Surface usage numbers
I've only seen one Surface product in the wild, exclduing my own device, of course, and those I've seen at Microsoft events--e.g. almost everyone had a Surface RT at TechEd because Microsoft was selling them to attendees for only $99. But otherwise, I see tons of Macs and iPads around San Francisco, but I've only seen a handful of Windows 8 devices of any type out in the wild. I spend a decent amount of time around Stanford and Berkeley, and these trends seem true of students too.

I expect this will change in coming months, though. Windows tablets aren't going to be as ubiquitous as iPads, but the new devices, such as Dell's 8-inch Venue Pro, are a lot nicer than anything that was on the market at this time last year. The Surface 2 is a lot nicer than its predecessor too, but I'm not sure it has the cost-to-performance ratio to break out in such a competitive landscape.

Any others had different experiences? Any places out there where Win 8 tablets are taking over?
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