Surprise: Surface Hub is a Huge Success (Literally)

Posted on December 12, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 16 Comments

Surprise: Surface Hub is a Huge Success (Literally)

Anyone criticizing the price point of Microsoft’s new Surface Studio PC may need to reconsider: The far more expensive Surface Hub is off to a blockbuster start.

So much for my theory that Microsoft has jumped the shark with its premium pricing scheme. Somehow, inexplicably, businesses are just in love with these huge, expensive devices.

That said, maybe I should have known better as I had a bit of personal experience with this phenomenon back in late Summer when my parent company/employer spent a few fruitless months trying to obtain two Surface Hubs for Brad and I to use for the First Ring Daily podcast. The orders were pushed back repeatedly, to September, and then to October, and to something amounting to “between now and infinity.” So we had to go to Plan B, which frankly worked out just fine: We’re using killer Samsung 4K UHD/HDR sets instead, and while they were pretty expensive (about $1100 each), they were also a far cry from the $8,999 price tag of a 55-inch Surface Hub.

Regardless of our attempts to acquire some Surface Hubs of our own, news that the devices have been in very short supply has been common since Surface Hub became generally available, so to speak, earlier in the year. But today, Microsoft provided an update. And, I think, some good news for those hoping to make the purchase.

“In only nine months since our launch, we’ve shipped Surface Hubs to over 2,000 customers in 24 markets,” Microsoft’s Brian Hall claims. “The average deal size is approximately 50 units, but we’ve seen orders as large as 1,500 units to a large car manufacturer. This makes our team so, so proud.”

Leaving aside for a moment that that car maker is almost certainly the reason I do not now have a Surface Hub, that is pretty impressive. How impressive is unclear. I suspect that the average sale is in fact one unit, and if that is generally true, Microsoft has sold about 4000 units. But if we look at the average cited by Microsoft—50 units—that’s 100,000 units. 100,000 units?? That’s crazy good. Again, the 55-inch version costs $8,999, while the 84-incher is car-like $21,999, speaking of car manufacturers. This could be a legit business for Microsoft.

On that note, Hall says that Microsoft has again “ramped up production” to meet the buying needs of its customers.

“Surface Hub is [now] available for customers worldwide,” he writes. “Resellers worldwide have units. To help meet the demand for Surface Hub, and to provide a great experience for customers, we’re adding more value-added partners who will resell Surface and provide 5-star service to our customers.”

And to goad sales even further, the firm has started a Surface Hub Try-and-Buy Program.

“We will enable a select set of our resellers to provide customers Hubs for 30 days before the committing to purchasing a large set of devices,” Hall explains. “This will launch in US and European Surface Hub markets this winter, and in Asia pacific at a later date. We have the data to show that this is a winner program, because people and businesses that use Surface Hub are amazed by it – and really want their business to use Surface Hub.”

I can only imagine what the shipping costs on that program are going to look like. Probably like the price tag on those Samsung TVs.

Hall also discussed a new set of Surface Hub features in response to customer feedback, but these were previously revealed, and shipped back in October.

 

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Surprise: Surface Hub is a Huge Success (Literally)”

  1. 206

    We saw how great they worked during the Presidential elections on CNN.  The Surface Hub was front and center for 12 hours...best demonstration ever.  It performed flawlessly the entire night.

    I was surprised by the level of software support that they had running on the device.  Seemed like he had a pretty large suite of tools at his disposal as he worked through all the election results.  So someone had done a lot of work getting all of that integrated for a touch interface.

  2. 8819

    Better numbers than Amazon has given us about Kindle sales (ever) or watches from Apple (ever)

  3. 2512

      I thought I was a little out there when I too was absolutely fascinated with the broadcasters use of the Surface Hubs during election night.  I agree that someone had to do a lot of prep, but the actual broadcaster had a firm command of how the software worked . . . that takes some serious preparation time.  There was no "fumbling around" or "maybe it can do this" it was snappy and very impressive. The scroll down to specific counties and comparing them to prior elections was an impressive instantaneous use of data.

  4. 5664

    It's clearly an amazing piece of hardware, and the software integration is pretty much Apple-level from what I've seen. I'd really, really love a chance to try it myself. I'll never be able to afford one, but it would be fun to get to work with one!

  5. 5767

    That's potentially $1.5 billion sales just with one product. But they probably saturated the market by now and sales will drop off a cliff.

  6. 9187

    In reply to MutualCore:

    The market is very far from saturated. At their size, Microsoft would never attack a market whose ultimate size is $1.5B, or even $5B.  But just based on rough numbers, according to the Census bureau, there are >100,000 businesses that employ 100+ persons in the U.S. since the U.S. is about 20% of world GDP we can very roughly imagine there are 500,000 such companies worldwide. Now, of course, not all would be suitable for this (say those who deal with less skilled workers for example), but then again many companies that employ less than 100 people would also be very suitable (of which there are many more than 500,000.  Microsoft reported they sold to 2,000 customers, so anyway you cut it there are miles and miles, paved with $, to go ...

    But of course, this is far more than just selling conference room units to Microsoft. Its always about the network and ecosystem, and derivatives which is why Google is trying to quickly get into it not to be left behind. Most likely you are seeing the previews for the classroom boards of 2020 here, amongst other potential uses beyond the conference room.  But for that one use case Imagine all those classrooms from K12 to College ... all over the world ... (it wont be exactly the same product, and the price would have come down a lot). Eventually some derivative off of this will make it into many homes and simpler offices too. And it will be tied to Mobile Phones for something like facetime, check out the Microsoft future vision vedio on youtube to see where they are going with all these. MS is at the beginning of a big innovation cycle. It may take them market cap wise to the magical $1 trillion (but Apple probably gets there before them).

  7. 5510

    The source is from microsoft only? 

  8. 9132

    I wish MSFT would fix the issue for SfB users with PSTN conferencing where you cannot dial out from the Hub.  for companies who have embraced the cloud and Surface and Skype to have a bug like this is not good.

  9. 5538

    Saw one of these at a timeshare tour with Starwood. Pretty cool but they didn't really use it more than a fancy display and a small white board, and even this they just used their finger instead of pen (probably ran out of battery).

  10. 699

    I want a Surface Hub so bad! Why? I dunno. Because I would be amazing to have a huge screen on my living room wall where I could write or draw on a space as big as a wall, and watch movies, etc. As these things become thinner, lighter and the parts more readily available and less expensive, I'm hoping Microsoft creates a consumer-level device. Could you imagine waltzing into your local Best Buy to buy a Surface Hub? Now that, I could see spending $3,000 on. Microsoft has a hit on its hands, and they need to expand the Surface Hub to consumers while also making it cheaper and more readily available. (Speaking of Best Buy, I have noticed they have a fully designated and beautiful "Microsoft area" right next to the usual "Apple Area," complete with signage and well lit banners and lighting. Very nice! It would be amazing to see a Surface Studio for sale there, too. As of now, they just have SP4's, SB's and accessories.) A+, Microsoft!

  11. 5496

    Yea, you can attach a 4k screen to a regular pc, but this is touch screen. Touch is why it cost so damn much.

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