Surface Go Appears to Be Off to a Slow Start

Posted on August 23, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 44 Comments

Data from AdDuplex suggests that Surface Go is off to a tepid start, capturing just 1.24 percent of Surface PC usage in its first month in the market.

“Surface Go has entered the market but it didn’t make a huge splash in the Surface device lineup,” AdDuplex notes. “At least not yet. It’s in the second to last position with 1.24 percent [usage share].”

That’s disappointing, given that Microsoft was hoping for a mainstream success story with this relatively inexpensive PC.

By comparison, Surface Laptop account for just .6 percent of Surface PC usage after six weeks in the market last year. And Surface Book 2 accounted for just .4 percent of Surface PC usage in its first month.

So Surface Go is selling faster than those PCs did. But Surface Go is also much less expensive than either of those PCs.

Worse, the much more expensive Surface PC on which Surface Go is based, Surface Pro (2017), performed better in its own debut, grabbing 2.4 percent of usage in its first full month, double the uptick of Surface Go.

Today, that Surface Pro is the third-most-used Surface PC, with 18 percent usage share. (Surface Pro 4, with 33 percent usage share, and Surface Pro 3, with 19 percent, are the top two overall.)

Still, it’s early for Surface Go. And it’s possible that a surge of back-to-school buyers will propel this humble PC to better sales in the months ahead. We’ll see what this looks like next month.

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Comments (45)

45 responses to “Surface Go Appears to Be Off to a Slow Start”

  1. drwindows

    1,24 percent - almost as half as Surface Laptop - after three weeks available only in the US. I wouldn't call that a "slow start".

  2. cybersaurusrex

    What the Surface Go really needs is a mobile OS. Too bad Microsoft doesn't have one (anymore).

  3. ajalex

    Its in percentage. So don't go by the numbers. 1.24% of surface market now (that surface go got) might be much more than 2.4% of surface market (that surface pro got) in 2017. There is definitely more devices in the market than when Surface Pro was released.

  4. chetpatel

    Microsoft needs to bundle the Surface GO with Keyboard and pen, and keep in under $500. 499.99 ;-). People can get iPad with keyboard and pen under that.....

  5. mclark2112

    I think it was the answer to a question that no one was asking.

  6. javajunkee

    Was at the Bellevue Microsoft Store recently. I feel the marketing of this device is lackluster at best. They had them front and center as you walked in but that’s it. If I was not looking for it and had previously checked out the other Surface models I would have walked right on by not noticing it was a new line. I sat and played with it for about 30 minutes and not a single MS sales employee stopped by to talk it up or answer any questions.


    As always Microsoft makes great products but really sucks at marketing those products.

  7. jaredthegeek

    I have no reason to get this without LTE. I use the pen a lot on my S3 w/ LTE and this will fit the same niche I have but without LTE its a no go. I am second guessing it based on the battery life.

  8. NoFlames

    I think it's easy to read too much into the numbers when it's only been 3 weeks of sales. To me that's a pretty good start since it has to compare against the installed base of all other surface devices that have bee selling for years. When I saw the number, I thought it was fast adoption. It's really guessing isn't it?

  9. Jorge Garcia

    I am kind of not surprised by this at all. Even though it I think it is a necessary product for them to include in their lineup, I fail to see the exact person for whom this is for. Most of the people left using Windows (voluntarily) do so because their business hinges on some legacy Win32.exe (for which a 10" screen kind of sucks), or because they need to do serious content creation...for which the entire Surface Go kind of sucks. If I'm a businessman who needs something very light, portable, always-on and connected, that works as an email-sender and light office tasker, then I'm much more inclined to buy an ARM-based Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with Dex. People still don't get why Samsung keeps barking up the DeX tree, but I totally do.

  10. Rycott

    Is AdDuplex US only? The Surface Go isn't even released to most of the rest of the world yet,


    I know it's August 28th here in Australia.

  11. MacLiam

    Let me again mention the gigantic problem of ascertainment bias.


    The AdDuplex community in no way represents a random sample of either Windows users or purchasers of Surface devices. They are mostly a developers community that has banded together to co-market and publicize the apps that individual members develop. I doubt a single one of their affiliates would buy a Surface Go for development, though a few of the more successful members might buy one or two to evaluate the performance of their apps on the least powerful Surface on the market.


    It seems to me inescapable that the Surface Go will in the broad market vastly outpace the scant 1.24 percent that we see in the AdDuplex stats. What we really need is a time-series analysis from the likes of Facebook or Google in another couple of weeks to get a real sense of initial levels and daily change in the contact stats for those companies' products from Surface Go users during its first month of availability. Will that happen? No, of course not.


    I bought mine (the larger 8/128) on Release Day as a niche-filler, and I am pleased with it at the B+/A- level. (I give my Studio and my 15" Book 2, which is like a mini-Studio, each an A+.) The Go performs well for the simple things I do with it, and it is much easier to keep at hand than a Surface Pro, or a Book, or a laptop of any make. I didn't buy the Go on the basis of specs; I bought it for the convenience.


    I preduct that Microsoft will keep the original Go models in production without modification for at least a couple of years, and that a year from now we will see a Go 2 with slightly narrower (or even lopsided) bezels and a somewhat faster processor. But the bezels could get narrower all the way around if if Microsoft or others would introduce a grip attachment (reversible/rotatable, to accommodate both lefties and righties) for those who need to carry it around and use it without the keyboard.


    I consider it a marketable product with reasonable to high profit margins. There is no reason for Microsoft to dump it anytime soon.

  12. Rob_Wade

    My wife has an SP4. I had an SP3 but broke the screen, so I now have an SP(2017). We both have very cheap NextBook 2-in-1 tablets as smaller backup devices (or to use in more hazardous situations where we don't want to risk our Surface Pros). They make good devices for music charts for gigs. But we are definitely going for Surface Go devices to replaces the NextBooks.

  13. Tsang Man Fai

    "didn't make a huge splash" = "slow start"???

  14. Biff Henderson

    Apparently, wet blanket Paul's nonstop negativity influences prospective customers to not purchase Microsoft products. Shame.

  15. offTheRecord

    "Surface Go Appears to Be Off to a Slow Start"


    No pun intended, right?

  16. billzeal

    Yes Let's give a few more months. The old back to school buying period etc. Besides I think even though "we" are very aware of the Surface Go ,The mass public still may not be.

  17. wunderbar

    It's almost like the device might be a bit too expensive (when you include the all but required keyboard) with too short battery life for what people want out of it.

  18. james_wilson

    It’s a different product to the Pro range and still quite expensive when you add either a keyboard or a pen. You are right though. Let’s see what back to school does.

  19. dontbe evil

    "Surface Go Appears to Be Off to a Slow Start" so in just one month it should overtake yaers older surface sales ???

  20. zself

    Probably because still waiting for Paul's review on thurott.com. :-)

  21. redstar92

    Paul, "This humble PC" has gotten a ton of use by my kids over the last 3 weeks. I understand that it does not meet your needs but my 2 elementary school kids are loving it.

  22. UbelhorJ

    It's just not the budget device they're positioning it as.


    It's a cheap computer +$100 for the keyboard +$100 for the pen +$150 for the model with a real SSD.


    After taxes, this "budget" computer is like $800.


    I really want one, but it's not an impulse buy.

  23. hometoy

    I think it should be more popular during the back-to-school and holiday sales.


    But for the back-to-school sales, I wouldn't be surprised if people look at it and think it will be underpowered (like a Windows OS crammed into a older generation Android tablet..)


    Christmas (holiday) sales, though, are more focused on the bottom line than usability and such. I won't be surprised if there isn't an uptick on Go sales during that time, especially if Microsoft markets it aggressively and in the right manner.

  24. yaddamaster

    I went to our local Microsoft store in Bellevue last night to look at a Surface Go. Walked out with a Surface Pro instead.


    Go Pros: small, easy to hold in hand, lightweight, surprisingly decent performance. Honestly - multiple tabs and apps open with no problem.

    Go Cons: ridiculously large bezel and the screen needs to be larger. The keyboard is virtually unusable for anything other than short emails. Honestly, this thing would be best paired with a pen and a simple cover.


    In the end, a Surface Go with touch cover was within $320 of a Surface Pro with double the storage - and that included a keyboard.


    Microsoft is running a special right now for a core i5, 8gb256gb WITH the platinum touch keyboard for $999 - if you're a student or parent of a student. That was too good to pass up.


    Costco is also running a similar special - but just the standard touch keyboard.


    So in the end, the value proposition was just too good to pass up vs the Go.

  25. jrickel96

    That's not a bad set of numbers. I've also noticed that stock has not been great, especially online. Amazon usually has delays in sending them out. So is it a number that is impacted by a more constrained supply line due to a new product? Microsoft has been more delicate about launching these since overproducing the Surface RT. They also may have held back supply in anticipation of back to school purchases. Many suppliers had massive shipments held back until early August. Best Buy was one of them in the US - the initial supply was lower and ramped up as August began.

  26. adamcorbally

    I think it'll be really interesting when Microsoft starts selling cut price bundles like they do with surface Pro, a back to school deal on the cheaper model with a free key board or pen would really help.

  27. Illusive_Man

    There is no compelling reason to buy this device. You're getting a premium looking device with a bloated OS, slow processor because of the bloated OS, and average battery life also because of the bloated OS...I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. Not students or teachers. I wouldn't recommend it to casual consumers either because its not great for consumption or light gaming. So what is this device for?


    Emailing and Microsoft Word?

  28. RM

    Any company or school looking into buying a lot of the Surface Go's, are going to get just a few to try them out and integrate them into their environment first. I think Microsoft should have released them about a month earlier for schools to try them out with enough time before kids return.

    • PeteB

      In reply to RM:

      No, any school looking to buying them... Wait there are none because they already have chromebooks.


      Too expensive, too late for these tiny Surface Gos with their floppy keyboard that can't balance in your lap to have any meaningful interest from schools, and certainly not at these high pricepoints.

  29. waethorn

    In Canadian dollars, it's $700 for the Surface Go with keyboard - for a computer with a poor CPU for Windows 10, and only 4GB of RAM. And Microsoft expects students to buy these?!?

  30. VancouverNinja

    Whatever! My Johnson Controls GLAS thermostats are showing up on Sunday!! I am pumped. Bye Bye Nest.


    I am however getting the Surface Go LTE version the moment it is available.

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