iSuppli analyst highlights the struggles the Surface has faced since its launch, including underwhelming sales and a high return rate

Surface sales disappoint amidst high return rate

Sales of Microsoft’s original Surface tablet were well below the one million mark, falling short of the firm’s initial expectations, says market research firm iSuppli.

After making its debut last quarter, close to 1.25 million Surface RT devices were shipped.

However, according to Rhoda Alexander, analyst at iSuppli, sales outside of the channel "were significantly lower, maybe on the order of 55 to 60 per cent of that figure."

In terms of sales, CNET has estimated that those percentages would roughly calculate to between 680,000 and 750,000 devices.

In comparison, percentages of Apple’s iPad were in the region of 90 to 100 per cent as the firm sold 22.9 million devices in its most recently reported quarter.

Alexander has also predicted that Microsoft may even be forced to severely limit or halt the production of its Windows RT powered Surface tablets as it struggles to sell off current inventory.

This wouldn’t be unusual however, as Amazon faced similar difficulties with its Kindle device, with excess inventory rolling over into the next quarter.

In addition to lacklustre sales, Microsoft’s Surface has faced return issues too, with Alexander citing the rate of return on the device to be "very high".

The analyst believes the switch to the Windows 8 operating system has thrown many users off, pushing them to return their devices in favour of others.

It seems to be linked in a lot of cases to a steep learning curve of the Windows 8 OS – which is not necessarily intuitive," said Alexander.

Microsoft is set to launch its latest Surface devices next month – the Surface Pro – which drops the Windows RT OS and offers a full version of Windows 8, which any are predicting will receive much greater interest from the industry.

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