Microsoft today reported that its Surface line of tablets had revenue of $400 million in the most recent quarter. On its earnings call, the company stated that in the most recent quarter (fiscal Q1, 2014), Surface unit volume doubled from the prior quarter (fiscal Q4, 2013). I confirmed the fact with Microsoft directly, following the statement.
It’s an interesting fact, because it underscores that Surface is at once growing, but that it also had a weak summer sales season. For the fiscal year that recently ended for Microsoft, total Surface revenue totaled $853 million. Given that the $400 million figure for the most recent quarter (which was not part of that $853 million sum) was essentially half the former total, it can be deduced — in conjunction with the doubled unit volume — that Microsoft’s tablet line sold slowly during the summer.
That’s not unexpected, of course, but it’s important to keep in mind where Surface is coming from, so that we can put its later figures into context.
Microsoft noted that in the most recent quarter, there was some hesitation among potential Surface Pro purchasers, as the Surface Pro 2 was on the horizon. That pent-up demand could skew Surface revenue higher in the current quarter that will include the release of the Surface Pro 2, the Surface 2, and the holiday sales cycle.
In a call, Microsoft declined to forecast Surface revenue for the coming quarter.
So we’ll have to do it. I think that $600 million will be the absolute lower bound of “not terrible”; $800 million will be solid; and a $1 billion tally will be a win. Your move, Microsoft.