Microsoft stops selling $499 Surface RT

The entry-level Surface RT has sold out and Microsoft is not taking backorders

Surface RT $499

The lowest priced Microsoft Surface RT tablet has sold out at the Microsoft Store.

The $499 Surface RT lacks either of the two keyboards but is the most popular with consumers.

The entry-level models are also the most popular with consumers in the Apple iPads and the Google Nexus 7 tablets. 

The Surface RT is a unique product that comes with Windows 8, giving consumers the same user interface across their laptop desktop, smartphone and tablet.

The Surface RT comes complete with MS Office 2013 allowing users to create documents compatible across all devices. Since it does not use an Intel microprocessor, it cannot run normal Windows software but uses software built for the Surface RT.

Microsoft is also sold out of the Surface RT models at $599 and $699. The online Microsoft Store labels all three models “Out of stock”.

Microsoft Surface RT out of stock but customers cannot order the entry level model

However, the Store will not allow you to select the $499 model for backorder. The only two models that can be selected are at $599 and $699.

What is unusual is that after accepting pre-orders and back-orders for the entry-level Surface RT, you cannot backorder one at this time. Does it mean Microsoft is really sold out of whatever is in the manufacturing and distribution channel for the foreseeable future.

Friday November 2nd, 2012, the Store in Canada and the United States said the Surface RT with keyboards were “Out of Stock”. On Saturday, they are apparently available for shipping.

 CNET reported that some Microsoft retail stores still had inventory of all models.

“Calls to Microsoft stores in Century City, Calif., Newark, Del., and Scottsdale, Ariz., revealed that those stores had stock of all three models. However, the Glendale, Calif., Holiday Day Store (a kiosk) was out of the $499 model and a representative at the Scottsdale store said stock was running low on the $499 model.”

“The store periodically will run out of certain models,” a Microsoft representative told CNET who also reported  “Microsoft gave away thousands of the 32GB Surface models with the Touch Cover at the Build conference this week to developers.”

The Surface RT was just released for sale a week ago and being sold out is a good sign for Microsoft in the launch of its historic first Microsoft branded computer.

In the past Microsoft has built the operating system and applications and partnered with hardware manufacturers to build the computers.

There are exceptions to the rule. Microsoft keyboards and mice have been a profitable line for decades. The Xbox game consoles that Microsoft designed and builds have given them a strong third place in the gaming market.

Apple iPad Mini backorders

Microsoft’s no-back order policy is different from Apple who clearly accept backorders on the new iPad Mini at the online Apple Store.

Microsoft are new to the online store game and could take a page from Apple’s book.

Managing the customer experience is just as important as releasing a hot product. Giving customers a clear indication of when they can expect to receive the product is an important part of maintaining an excellent customer experience.

Apple excels at exceeding customer expectations and has won them the largest part of the tablet market.

iPad Mini order screen with shipping status

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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