Microsoft’s Surface just outsold the iPad in online sales

Brad Jones
Microsoft’s Surface tablet, part of a $400 million deal with the NFL, didn’t get the best coverage at the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos over the weekend, after the main shots of the device showed NFL officials staring helplessly at ones that weren’t working. The malfunction happened during the first half of the game, when a networking issue took most of the Surface tablets offline. It is the latest mishap in the high profile marketing campaign, which sadly happened to be broadcast to millions of football fans watching one of the most hyped games of the year. Sean Jensen Related: Paul Thurrott on Surface brand: ‘Microsoft, you’re f@#$ing up.’ Microsoft denied responsibility for the failure, saying in a statement “the issue was not related to the tablets themselves but rather an issue with the network.” It took NFL officials up to twenty minutes to fix all of the Surface tablet issues, and regardless of the fault, isn’t the kind of publicity Microsoft probably wants from the NFL tie-up. It wraps up a rather disappointing year for the Surface provider, with NFL commentators referring to the tablet as an iPad at the start of the season — despite being told not to — and New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz saying on Twitter that the Surface tablets “always malfunction”. Microsoft also had an issue in early December, when the Dallas Cowboys were unable to use the tablets in a game against the Washington Redskins. At least Microsoft has been able to indirectly show the toughness of the Surface tablet through quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Johnny Manziel, and Jay Cutler, who all put the sturdiness of the tablet to the test. The story comes just days after Microsoft introduced premium versions of the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4, each with faster processors, more memory, and additional storage to make them attractive to power users. Also watch: Microsoft adds a robot guards, ushers in Sci-Fi apocalypse Please enable Javascript to watch this video

For a time, it seemed that the Apple iPad was destined to reign over the field of tablets in much the same way that the iPod became the go-to variety of MP3 player some years prior. However, Microsoft has since hit back with its Surface line — a device that is apparently overtaking the iPad, if recent figures are to be believed.

According to a report put together by the 1010data Ecom Insights Panel, Microsoft tablets were the highest selling in terms of online sales in October 2015, knocking Apple’s rival devices from the top of the charts. This marks the first time this year that Apple was not in the lead.

This data comes from a study of the top 100 online retailers in the United States, which are collectively responsible for over 95 percent of physical products ordered online, according to a report from WinBeta.

Related: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

October was a big month for Microsoft, highlighted by the company’s October 6 event. The far-reaching showcase covered the length and breadth of the Windows 10 ecosystem, and provided the setting for the unveiling of the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book.

It certainly seems that Microsoft’s fervour to capitalize upon the Surface brand is working, based on its robust sales in October and the fact that the company’s devices tend to sell at a far higher price than those of its competitors. Still, it will be the competitive holiday period that gives us insight on where the momentum lies heading into 2016.

Microsoft may be taking a stab at the MacBook with its Surface Book, but the iPad Pro looks set to make a similar claim at territory currently held by the Surface line. It’s difficult to tell exactly which way this rivalry is going to play out, but it seems certain that the tablet market will be a major battleground for both companies moving forward.

Also watch: Microsoft adds a robot guards, ushers in Sci-Fi apocalypse

Please enable Javascript to watch this video