Having a hard time finding a Surface Pro at your local retailer today? You’re not alone.  Here is Microsoft’s statement on the shortages of the new tablet PC, which launched today.

“Customer response to the launch of Surface Pro has been amazing. We are 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.” 

Do you buy it?

If you’re just tuning in, Microsoft’s new Surface Pro tablet has stirred up enough demand to generate lines at stores and sell out online. After all, it’s a milestone machine — the first honest-to-goodness, Intel-based, traditional Windows PC ever made by Microsoft, the company that makes Windows.

But tech companies can be very good at disguising their inability to provide an adequate initial supply — instead trying to leave the impression that shortages are caused by mobs of people wanting to get their hands on this hotness.

I have no idea if Microsoft is doing that here. Readers commenting on some of our earlier posts are reporting some very small single-digit supplies of the Surface Pro at their local retailers in different parts of the country. The fact that Microsoft pushed back the launch date is more evidence of manufacturing issues. But unless Microsoft discloses some post-weekend sales figures, as Apple often does after a successful launch, we won’t have any way of knowing for sure in the short run.

Then again, when was the last time you saw people line up like this to buy a new Windows PC? Yes, these pictures are from Microsoft’s backyard, but still …

ReviewHands-on with Surface Pro, Microsoft’s three-in-one PC

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  • SilverSee

    I was in line in Bellevue this morning, and I believe Microsoft was genuinely taken off-guard by the response.

    A few days ago I had stopped by the store to look at the tablet in person, and I was told by a store associate that they weren’t expecting quite the same initial launch demand as for the Surface RT, but that I should “get there early” just in case.

    Sure enough, when my son and I arrived at about 8:30 this morning, there were already a good 100-150 people in line, completely filling the ropes that Microsoft had placed in the mall. About 45 minutes later the line had at least doubled and Microsoft reps were hastily bringing new ropes out in order to lengthen the queue. This was all before they opened the doors for sales.

    I’m guessing the rapid sellout at the online store last night was due to some last-minute reallocation of supply to the retail channel (based on demand for the in-store reservation cards). I also suspect that last week’s “Storagegate” non-scandal may have increased enthusiasm for the 128GB model in a way Microsoft didn’t expect.

  • GeekWire Fan

    Todd, did you happen to do an informal survey of people in line asking them if they were Microsoft employees or contractors? While all Microsoft employees received a free Surface RT about a month ago, most of them would prefer to have a Surface Pro to be able to also run real Windows apps like the full version of Office.

    There is no way to judge the popularity of the Surface Pro by the lines at stores that are near Microsoft headquarters. It will likely take a few months to get a sense of the popularity of the Pro model versus the RT model, and in general.

    Everyone has preferences to what is the ideal device or devices for them, including the platform. It would seem that a 10″ screen is on the small side for using Windows “desktop” apps, and 10″ notebook PCs never sold well in the market. I would expect the ideal solution for Windows users long term would be to have a 13″ ultrabook PC with a touchscreen, and a 8″ Surface RT tablet.

    • lipper2000

      Seriously?! You think MS paid their employees to stand in line?!
      The Toronto MS store had lines and there wasn’t an employee of MS there…for sure they didn’t have enough at the retail level which created a lot of unhappy people and perhaps they did that on purpose, but suggesting they are rigging a line with MS employees is a bit silly

      • GeekWire Fan

        No, of course Microsoft doesn’t pay employee’s to stand in line. Please re-read what I wrote more carefully. I just said that many Microsoft employees want a Microsoft Pro, and many of the people in line in Seattle to buy one for themselves are Microsoft employees and contractors.

        • guest

          “and many of the people in line in Seattle to buy one for themselves are Microsoft employees and contractors”

          speculation on your part.

    • Xenoridesagain

      You sound pretty desperate to minimize any success here or attribute it to employees buying. Worried?

  • techno ho

    I want one. Any techie should get one just to compare. And no im not paid to say this. Im just a true tech whore with an iphone, galaxy s3 and a windows phone.

  • Tucker Rzepecki

    I live in Olympia WA, which is about an hour away from Seattle. According to the Best Buy in Olympia, they only received two Surface Pros, Staples claims they only received one. A sales associate at the Best Buy in neighboring Lacey told me they didn’t receive a single Surface Pro besides the demo model and that every Best Buy in the state was either short stocked or received nothing at all. Needless to say, this was a very unhappy launch day for me.

  • http://eyejot.com/users/davidg davidgeller

    It’d be foolish to assume that most Microsoft employees won’t want to get one. They should be the first ones in line to support their company – and drive as much enthusiasm about it as possible. I’d imagine the same is true when Apple releases new stuff – employees are always among the faithful, early acquirers.

    The key to its success will be whether there’s enough product to sell and to meet demand. If they aren’t seeding enough units in retail outlets to meet demand (either by being unable to make enough or artificially limiting supply) then claims of “selling out” aren’t valid indicators of early success.

    In time, third party retail analysts will report observed data and we’ll have a clearer idea of how well it’s selling. They need a hit. So, I hope the product is successful and people enjoy using it. That, in turn, may spur other manufacturers to produce even better products.

  • Dave

    I hope the Surface is selling well so that there is a second generation of devices. Gen 1 of the Pro does not meet my needs, primarily because of battery life and travel schedules, but Gen 2 will hopefully be better. I assume they will use the lower power Intel i series chips that are coming out soon and that will help on battery and they will optimze the software. Hopefully MSFT will have figured out some of the things that made it sound like the device has a split personality in most reviews.

  • Twig

    I absolutely want a Surface Pro too. I really miss the stylus which I used quite a bit with no fewer than three prior generation “tablet PCs”. And to set the record straight, I am writing this comment on a MacBook Pro (which I love). I also own an iPad, a Google Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7 and a Kindle Fire. This generation of device consumers have unfortunately been misled by Apple into believing the iPad is the mainstream tablet.

  • Bladeforc3

    If anything it seems people are willing to show how much they dislike and mistrust Microsoft in every department which isn’t surprising considering how bad they have been since Gate’s thief days

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