Today in a blog post, Microsoft’s Brian Hall promised that Microsoft will get more Surface Pro 3 inventory to the parts of the world where supply of the device is hard to find. The company noted Germany, China, Australia, and Korea as places where it might be difficult to snag one of the devices.
What is going on? Microsoft didn’t ship enough of its new computer. Here is how the company describes the situation:
Due to the response, Surface Pro 3 is in limited supply in some markets. Given the interest that we saw as part of our US launch, retailers ordered what we thought was a healthy amount of Surface Pro 3s for these new markets. It turns out that we didn’t ship enough. At some retailers in Australia, Surface sold out by lunchtime on launch day. In China, retailers are sold out of the Core™ i5 and i7 models. And devices are hard to come by in Germany, New Zealand, Korea, and at one of the largest retailers in the United Kingdom.
You can read that in a number of ways. First, that Microsoft is being more conservative with its Surface shipments, in the wake of its $900 million Surface RT write down. Second, that response to the Surface Pro 3 has been greater abroad than at home. And finally that there is real demand for the device across the globe.
Microsoft is likely somewhat conflicted about its limited supply. Selling out, in a sense, is quite nice when you are selling goods. At the same time, the company is losing revenue by not having enough devices in stores.
What I think we can take from the situation is that the company won’t be facing a massive writedown over its new devices, and that the Surface project isn’t in danger of near-term cancellation.