Nvidia disappointed with Windows RT tablet sales

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Microsoft is having somewhat of a difficult time convincing the masses to abandon Android and Apple for its heavily marketed Surface RT tablet.

This has disappointed both industries watchers and companies like Nvidia whose chips power the RISC-friendly version of Redmond's tablet.

"We expected to have sold more than we did," Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang told IDG News on the sidelines of the company's annual GPU conference. "I think everybody expected to have sold more than we did."

Indeed, according to IDC, the RT operating system is expected to claim just 2 percent market in 2013. Some analysts attribute weak consumer reception for the OS to its lack of support for legacy desktop apps originally coded for x86 systems, rather than ARM-based devices.

Nevertheless, says Jen-Hsun, Microsoft should continue to ramp up tablets based on ARM architecture.

"They have to find a way to get into that ecosystem because it's so disruptive. I think it's of some importance to Microsoft to continue to invest in RT," he opined.

Jen-Hsun also emphasized that he was hoping for an RT version of Microsoft's popular Outlook client.

"If Outlook were to show up on RT, my life would be complete," he said. "I am one Outlook away from computing nirvana. Outlook god, please... They own the source code and I know there are smart people up there."

As TG Daily previously reported, Microsoft only managed to sell a little over a million Surface RT tablets since the device hit the market. Indeed, Redmond reportedly ordered three million Surface RT tablets last year, but sales never picked up and Microsoft was forced to scale back the order.

The lackluster figures come as no surprise. Earlier this year it emerged that the RT faced high return rates and very low sell-through, with shipments totalling just 900,000 units in the first quarter of sales. The Surface Pro did not fare any better. It garnered relatively negative reviews and since it is quite a bit pricier than the RT, consumers don’t seem keen to make the leap of faith.

JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna told Bloomberg that Microsoft has failed to prove that Windows has a place in a new world dominated by touchscreens.

"It’s pretty clear that things were bad entering the year, and at least for the moment they’re getting worse," he said. "The path to a successful Surface, in the same way that they were successful with Xbox, is not very clear to me right now."