Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Microsoft Surface sales skyrocket, thanks in part to 'disappointing' Macbook Pros

Image used with permission by copyright holder
Both Microsoft and Apple revealed new devices in October, with the former introducing the Surface Studio all-in-one PC and an updated Surface Book sporting new hardware and a lengthier “with Performance Base” name. Meanwhile, Apple revealed its latest 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros packing a neat Touch Bar mounted just above the keyboard. Those new products set up November as an important month for both companies in terms of consumer reaction to the new offerings and how willing they were to part with their cash..

On the Microsoft front, the company said on Monday that November was its best month ever for Surface sales across the globe. Also worth noting is that Microsoft labeled Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops as “disappointing,” especially when it comes to the professional market. Microsoft’s November numbers were fueled by the new Surface devices here in the United States, the company’s MacBook trade-in program, and what appears to be negativity tied to the new MacBook Pros.

“It seems like a new review recommending Surface over MacBook comes out daily. This makes our team so proud, because it means we’re doing good work,” said Brian Hall, corporate vice president of Microsoft Devices Marketing.

That comment seemingly stems from Apple customers who aren’t impressed with the new MacBook Pro models, even though critics’ reviews are mostly positive. Many have complained about the AMD graphics chip, the inability to upgrade the storage at a later date, Apple’s inability to address the needs of the professional market, and more. The new MacBook Pros have even been described as “watered down” and “incredibly underwhelming.”

In addition to mentioning the MacBook Pro woes, Hall also talked about the Surface brand’s performance during November. For starters, in the United States, Best Buy offered a Surface bundle and sold out on the first day it went live. In the United Kingdom, Microsoft saw its best single week for Surface products to date in that region, whereas the Surface Pen became the best-selling PC peripheral on Amazon Germany for 12 whole hours.

At launch, the Surface Book with Performance Base was made available only in the United States and Canada. Now Microsoft is making its new Surface-branded laptop available in Australia and New Zealand. It will then arrive in additional markets in the first few months of 2017, including in Austria, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Hall also boasted about the sales performance of Microsoft’s monster-sized Surface Hub, which is gaining momentum in the business industry. He said that the demand for this product far exceeds the company’s expectations. During the nine months after Surface Hub hit the market, Microsoft shipped it to more than 2,000 customers across 24 markets. He added that the average order thus far has contained around 50 units, and the largest Surface Hub order was 1,500 units purchased by an unnamed, “large” car manufacturer.

If you’re not familiar with the Surface Hub, it’s essentially an interactive whiteboard sporting a 55-inch or 84-inch touchscreen powered by Windows 10. The specs depend on the size of the unit, as the 55-inch version packs a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor and the 84-inch model packs a fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor. Both models could be considered as really big all-in-one PCs built for collaboration scenarios only.

Editors' Recommendations

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
Apple already selling refurbished MacBook Pros for $350 off
The new MacBook Pro seen from the side.

If you have been holding out for a good deal on the latest MacBook Pros, now might be your best chance. Apple is now selling refurbished M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook models on its Certified Refurbished store, as reported by MacRumors.

The official Apple store is still the best place to get refurbished Apple products. Currently, you can get 10% off on a number of MacBook Pro models, a savings of $200 to $350. That isn't a ton of savings (especially compared to third-party resellers), but it also comes paired with Apple's one-year warranty.

Read more
Is the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 for Business good for business?
Surface Pro 8 tablet view with Windows 11 screen.

There's no doubt that Microsoft's premier detachable tablet, the Surface Pro 8, is an excellent 2-in-1 for consumers. It's fast, has a spectacular 120Hz display, supports inking with haptic feedback, and functions as both a competent clamshell laptop and a phenomenal Windows 11 tablet.

But how well does it work for business users? The short answer is "very well," but read on for some important considerations when using the Surface Pro 8 as a business machine.
Surface Pro 8 for Business

Read more
Microsoft and iFixit team up on official repair kits for Surface devices
A screen shot of one of the tools Microsoft and iFixit are releasing.

Microsoft continues to make strides as the Right to Repair movement gains traction, partnering with iFixit to release Pro repair kits to technicians for its Surface devices. It’s a big win for Right to Repair.

The repair kit is available as part of the iFixit Pro program and is not available to average consumers -- at least right now. However, the kit features some handy tools that will help technicians add to the life cycle of Microsoft devices for their customers.

Read more