Microsoft Surface Models Already On Back Order But Real Demand Unclear

After re-imagining Windows 8, Microsoft desperately needs for its next generation operating system to be a success, and there are some early indications that it's headed down that road. Make no mistake, Windows 8 is heavily focused on the mobile crowd, and that's where Surface comes into play. Surface represents Microsoft's first foray into hardware (not including peripherals and things of that nature), and early indications are that it's off to a good start.

Whatever stock of Surface tablets Microsoft had on hand to ship out has been depleted. Whereas initial pre-orders were promised delivery by October 26 (tomorrow), you now have to wait up to three weeks when pre-ording a Surface RT tablet, depending on the model. Here's how it looks:
  • Surface RT 32GB: Ships in 3 weeks
  • Surface RT 32GB with Black Touch Cover: Ships in 1-2 weeks
  • Surface RT 64GB with Black Touch Cover: Ships in 1-2 weeks

Surface Backorder

It's unclear how many units Microsoft set aside for day-of-release, and then there's the return rate that must be evaluated. All that, as well as sales figures, will come out in time, at which point we'll have a better grasp of Surface's true demand.

"The fact it's back ordered is indicative that there's consumer interest," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner, according to Reuters. "How Microsoft introduces it, evangelizes it, and explains it will determine long term success."

Microsoft has previously stated that it intends to wait until its next earnings call (January 24) before revealing sales figures for Windows 8 or Surface. In the meantime, you can read our impression of Windows RT in our review of of the Vivo Tab RT from Asus.