Yesterday, at the Microsoft Store in Century City, the Surface Pro launch sold out by 10:05 am. Store associates gave out tickets to buy to the new tablet that turns into a thin notebook computer with an attachable keyboard to line-waiters.
By noon the line was starting to clear. There were reports of problems buying the tablets over the weekend and now online sales seem to be available at Microsoft online again.
When I passed by the store around 11:45 am there were approximately 10 people in line. The Microsoft store inside around noon was, busy but not as busy as a usual day at most Apple stores, according to my experience. When asked what time the stock was gone, the sales rep said 10:05am.
The 64GB Surface Pro priced at $899 has a 1920x1080 ClearType touchscreen tablet with 10-point-multi-touch that magically connects to a keyboard style of your choice. We saw a demo that showed the keyboard connection so strong that you can let the tablet part hang from the keyboard with out risk of dropping it.
Early reviews have been positive saying it's a match for the iPad and MacBook Air or PC Ultrabook.
The tablet weighs two pounds and has an Intel i5 Core processor and it is compatible with all things Microsoft, especially enterprise. This Surface model lets you run all Microsoft compatible desktop apps. The Surface Pro comes in 64GB and 128GB models. It also features stereo speakers, USB 3.0, microSDXC card slot, headset jack, mini DisplayPort and over port.
So why the sell-out? Because so many people wanted itor was it in limited supply? Apparently, many customers found that the 128 Surface Pro was in short supply as well as the 64GB model. This sell-out is by no means close the various Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 fast sell0outs.
Many retail stores only had two in stock. Some customers had to call several stores to find one. "One Best Buy claimed they didn't receive any Pros for launch day, the other says they only had two. Staples told me they only had one," reported one commenter on the Surface Blog.
Customers who tried to buy online at midnight found that after about a half an hour it was sold out.
"I was so disappointed when I saw that the 128GB model was already sold out by the time I checked at 6:30a EST. I called around and checked all the local retail stores. Most stores never received the 128GB model at all" reported another commenter.
Some customers who made $50 gift card deposits for the Surface Pro tablets showed up at Best Buy stores to find out that the store never got the tablet.
Online sources such as Best Buy were sold-out. Customers are asking why there are no pre-orders or backorders, or in-store waiting lists.
Some customers who waited in line were given a $25 gift card for their troubles but are still disappointed.
It's not really clear on what's going on with stock on the east coast because many stores were closed due to the snow storms.
"We’re working with our retail partners who are currently out of stock of the 128GB Surface Pro to replenish supplies as quickly as possible. Our priority is to ensure that every customer gets their new Surface Pro as soon as possible" noted Panos Panay at the Surface Blog.
Today, Sunday, there were reports of orders going through the Microsoft online store, which seems to be your best bet. When any products is sold-out, you can check back online. The most important thing to remember is to refresh your browser and clear your cache, sometimes the item may be in stock but your browser hasn't changed the cached content.
If you have a relationship with Staples or Best Buy you can contact your sales rep or check online, pay online and then pick it up in store. We checked for stock around downtown Los Angeles at Best Buy and there were no Surface Pro 64GB or 128GB models available. There could be, due to the storm, some available in eastern states but you have to weather the storm.
Tonight during the Grammy Awards a new Surface TV commercial will air directed by John Chu.