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Rumor: Microsoft’s Secret Plan for Surface Domination

Rumor: Microsoft’s Secret Plan for Surface Domination

I want HALF, Eddie!!

With the understanding that some of this information must be placed in the unconfirmed category, I’ve heard from two sources now that Microsoft has an interesting goal for its well-received Surface tablets: 50 percent of all Windows tablet sales in the coming year.

That bit may seem somewhat extreme, but here’s a shocker you may have missed: Microsoft already achieved this goal in Q1 2013, when Surface devices were indeed 50 percent of all Windows tablets sold. Of course, as the firm’s PC maker partners pick up the slack and start shipping decent devices of their own, one might expect Microsoft’s market share to slide. Oddly enough, that’s not what Microsoft expects: It really does believe that Surface can maintain 50 percent market share going forward (again, among Windows tablets.)

Now we come to the rumor bit.

According to a single source who has proven reliable in recent weeks, Microsoft has specific Surface goals for fiscal year 2014, which starts July 1. These are:

Surface sales. Microsoft expects to sell 25 million Surface devices in FY2014. By comparison, it sold less than 1 million units in Q1 of CY2013, so this will require some changes. (See below.)

Enterprise tablets. Microsoft expects to become the number one enterprise tablets provider in FY 2014.

Retail tablet sales. Microsoft expects to become the number two provider of tablets at retail in FY 2014.

Education. Microsoft plans to at least bid for every available education tablet opportunity in FY 2014.

Distribution. Microsoft expects Surface to become the top tablet choice of its distribution partners, which will drive Surface sales through resellers.

To achieve these lofty goals, Microsoft will pump up its marketing, with FY 2014 advertising priorities focused on “first party [i.e. Surface] hardware to drive demand and highlight the family of devices and services from Microsoft.” The Surface family will of course expand this year to include at least one more device, the 8-inch tablet I exclusively revealed earlier this year, and perhaps others. The internal budget? Reportedly $4.4 billion.

And Microsoft will dramatically expand the availability of Surface over the next year. In FY 2014, it will add Columbia, Poland, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, India, and Malaysia to the list of countries that sell Surface tablets. This will give it near-ubiquitous coverage in North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceana, with only South America and Africa having wide gaps.

“Surface success is a top company priority,” internal Microsoft documentation notes, in “consumer and commercial, retail and broader, ARM and x86, growth and profit, and devices and accessories.”

I feel pretty good about this one but, again: Until I can confirm some of the details, it’s a rumor.

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