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October 17, 2012

Buying Frenzy Sweeps Microsoft Surface Tablet Base Models

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

It took just under 24 hours from the launch date for Microsoft (News - Alert) to completely sell out of pre-orders for their new Surface tablet. Shipping times took a similar hit, dropping back to "within three weeks."

Going in, it was widely known that Microsoft's pre-order stockpile would be limited. Microsoft even specifically said as much. It was unknown at the time, however, just how many Surface tablets Microsoft would have available for pre-ordering in the first place.

Additionally, the launch day inventory included anything above the base model, a 32GB tablet without the accompanying black Touch Cover for $499. This means the $599 32GB Surface with the black Touch Cover and the $699 64GB Surface, again with the black Touch Cover, and both were still available, at last report, for delivery by 10/26.

It's a strange set of circumstances, certainly. Not knowing how many units Microsoft had on hand could leave this issue little more than a tempest in a teapot; it's one thing to sell out of several million as Apple's (News - Alert) known to do, but it's another to sell out of several dozen as certain local bakeries are known to do.

The exact answer is likely somewhere in the middle.

What's particularly telling here, however, is the idea that Microsoft's new tablet might sell out at all. This likely comes as something of a surprise for many, especially since it represents such a radical departure from Microsoft's normal line of products. To see the company that essentially powered the PC era jump into what could be described as products for a post-PC era is a surprise in no uncertain terms.

Still, it has to be gratifying for Microsoft to see that the three years of work that went into the design and completion of the Surface tablet did not go to waste, as sales must be described as at least reasonably brisk.

The greater significance of Microsoft selling out of some breeds of Surface tablet will likely become more readily apparent in the coming weeks, but it's quite clear that something interesting is going on all the same, and may well represent the start of something very big.

Edited by Braden Becker
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