A Digitimes report states that sales of Microsoft’s stratospherically-priced Surface Studio PCs are better than expected.
Of course, this needs to be put in context: Digitimes is notoriously hit or miss. And the publication originally estimated that Microsoft would sell 15,000 Surface Studio units during the fourth quarter of 2016. Now, they are revising that estimate to 30,000 orders, which is double the original estimate, yes, but doesn’t mean that Microsoft will actually be able to ship that number of devices. (Remember that Microsoft said supply would be constrained for quite some time.)
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“Microsoft has ordered 30,000 units to be shipped in the first quarter of 2017, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers,” the report notes.
While the language is a bit fuzzy, the way I read this report is that Digitimes believes Microsoft took orders of 30,000 units in 2016, and expects to ship that number to customers in the first quarter of 2017.
Doing the math—the mid-level Surface Studio costs $3500—this would work out to about $105 million in revenues for the initial run. But it’s unlikely that Microsoft will sustain this level of sales over the next year, given the pricing: This initial batch almost certainly represents the majority of sales it will see in 2017. Barring massive price cuts, of course.
I recently wrote about why I believe Microsoft is forced to price its Surface devices so highly, but I continue to be amazed by the ongoing comparisons of Microsoft’s recent designs—mostly positive—to that of Apple’s new MacBook Pro, which has been rightfully panned here, there, and everywhere.
To be clear, Surface Studio and the new MacBook Pro have absolutely nothing to do with each other, beyond the most tenuous of connections: They are both expensive hardware products that were announced at about the same time. But for all the complaining around the MacBook Pro, let’s be serious: You know Apple is going to sell many more units than Microsoft will of Surface Studio. And if only to shut up the critics, I suspect you will hear Apple talk about the blockbuster start this product has had in its next earnings call.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter. These products are completely unrelated.
The real battle, as I see it, comes in the Spring, when Microsoft announces what I hope/pray are USB-C/Thunderbolt 3-based new generation Surface portables, which we assume will be called Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2. If Apple hasn’t righted its MacBook Pro lineup by then, all bets are off. Today? Not so much.