Report: Little demand for Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet

Lackluster demand has reportedly prompted Microsoft to slash orders of its Surface RT tablet from 4 million to 2 million units. 

According to DigiTimes, the slow start for Redmond’s ARM-based tablet could ultimately persuade Microsoft to lower the price of its upcoming Intel x86-powered Surface Pro ($899 for 64GB and 128GB for $999) which is slated to ship in January.

Microsoft has thus far declined to provide precise sales data for the Surface RT, with Steve Ballmer going on record as saying “reception”to the tablet has been “fantastic.”

Nevertheless, other tablet manufacturers, including Asus, Samsung and Dell, are apparently reporting “weak consumer demand,” at least according to DigiTimes.

“Pricing the Surface Pro higher than practically any other equivalent product out there was a puzzling move. Microsoft needs to be doing everything they can to project an image of success for Surface and Windows 8,” analyst Patrick Moorhead told PCWorld.

“The $899 starting price for Surface Pro will significantly limit penetration. Microsoft needs a starting configuration at $699 to drive significant volume and then have a step-up configuration to $899.”

Therese Poletti of MarketWatch expressed similar sentiments.

“Microsoft’s first iteration of its Surface tablet was far cheaper in price, but based on chips using ARM Holdings designs, so it’s not as compatible with legacy Windows apps as the Intel-based Surface,” wrote Poletti.

“Of course it is very early in Microsoft’s Surface effort, and the more anticipated Intel-based version won’t be out until next year. But given the high prices set for the next Surface, the tablet’s future could be spent gathering dust on Microsoft’s new store shelves. Consumers will keep bringing Apple’s iPad, which now starts at $329 for an iPad mini, to get some of their work done.”