Surface Pro sells out, but low supply angers customers

Microsoft's Surface Pro has sold out in some stores after limited supplies

Stewart Mitchell
11 Feb 2013

Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet has sold out in many stores, but the company is facing questions over just how many of the devices were available at launch.

Launch day stock shortages of the 128GB version tablet have led to questions over whether Microsoft deliberately limited supply to generate a buzz - a charge recently levelled at Google over the Nexus 4 handset, although manufacturer LG said Google had merely underestimated demand. Plus, Microsoft's production could be held back by an ongoing shortage of touchscreen panels.

A Microsoft blog post trumpeting Surface Pro launch has been swamped with complaints from customers who went to shops in the US as well as to Microsoft's online store only to come away disappointed.

We’re working with our retail partners who are currently out of stock of the 128GB Surface Pro

"I found this to be one of the most disappointing and pathetic product launches by a technology company in recent history," posted Albion in a comment that reflected many complaints. "I went to two store openings (a Staples and a Best Buy). Staples did not have any 128GB models and only one or two 64GB models. Best Buy had two Surfaces that were already reserved for pre-orders."

"As others have mentioned, I went to Microsoft Store site online (starting on Friday night) only to find that the 128GB was sold out, and you could not even place a back order."

Online pre-orders?

Sold out launches can create a buzz, but would-be customers also criticised the way Microsoft wasn't accepting pre-orders for when stock does become available again.

"Why doesn't the Microsoft online store accept orders and provide estimated delivery dates with an option to opt out?" asked hskp. "That is basic online retail support. If I want a Surface Pro I have to waste my time canvassing the Microsoft Store, Best Buy and Staples. Frankly, a competitive product is starting to look real good."

Other posters complained that even pre-ordered devices hadn't been ready for collection.

"Coming soon"

Microsoft said it was working on getting more hardware out as quickly as possible, but it's given no details on the apparent lack of 128GB models.

"Customer response to the launch of Surface Pro has been amazing," the company said in the blog post. "We’re working with our retail partners who are currently out of stock of the 128GB Surface Pro to replenish supplies as quickly as possible. Our priority is to ensure that every customer gets their new Surface Pro as soon as possible."

Microsoft has yet to respond to request for comment on the availability issues, and hasn't yet announced UK availability.

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