Microsoft says it is experiencing "exceptional demand" for its Surface Pro 4 as shortages of some configurations persist three months after launch.
A month after the stock drought was first highlighted by CRN, some UK resellers are still struggling to get their hands on the high-end i7 versions of the two-in-one device.
Tech Data currently has no i7 Surface Pros in stock, while as of this morning Ingram had just 27 of the top-end 512GB versions available, screenshots sent to us by a reseller indicate. Neither can resellers get an accurate picture of when stock may arrive.
Ryan Asdourian, Windows and Surface Business Group lead at Microsoft, admitted the vendor was struggling to produce Surface Pro 4s quickly enough to meet demand.
"While we are not happy that we can meet all demand today, we are really excited about the customer interest and demand that this demonstrates," he told CRN.
Retailing at between £1,299 and £1,799, the Core i7 versions are popular among company executives and creatives, according to one Microsoft Authorised Device Reseller (ADR) who told us he was frustrated that his firm is unable to satisfy that demand and is in the dark over when stock might be available.
"You often get the directors buying themselves the i7s and then buying staff the i5s, which is the run-rate business," he said.
"The annoyance is that the Microsoft Store seems to have stock."
The Surface Pro 4 shortage also casts doubt over whether Microsoft can hit its slated 18 February UK launch date for the Surface Book with any stock, the ADR added, pointing out that it uses some of the same materials.
According to IDC, Microsoft sold about 1.6 million Surface devices last year, with the majority of those being Surface Pros and not the more affordable Surface 3. Detachables such as the Surface Pro and Apple iPad Pro are selling well because they are seen as laptop replacements, the analyst said, while Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently argued that Surface had created a new category of devices.
The Surface Pro 4 has garnered a largely glowing review from CRN sister publication The Inquirer and Microsoft's Asdourian said the vendor is seeing "unprecedented demand" for some configurations.
"On the Surface Pro 4s, I think one of the things this shows is the customer excitement in the fact we are having trouble producing them fast enough to meet customer demand," he said.
There are three Core i7 versions retailing at £1,299, £1,449 and £1,799. Two Core i5 versions retail at £849 and £1,079 and a Core m3 version priced at £749 complete the line-up.
Asdourian continued: "Our goal is to make sure everyone who wants a Surface Pro 4 is able to get one, so we are working hard to expedite and produce those machines as fast as possible and as soon as we do that we will make sure we are getting them out to our resellers and distributors."
When asked specifically when i7 stock could hit the UK channel, Asdourian said:
"I cannot comment on exact dates, but we are working with distribution and resellers hand in hand and communicating with them. As [soon] as we have those units, we will get them to them."
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