More Surface Pro 128GB Tablet Shipments on the Way

Shoppers will have to wait a bit longer to get a Microsoft's 128GB Surface Pro tablet. Will this let Apple cement the iPad's place in the enterprise?

After days of fielding complaints regarding the lack of Surface Pro tablets at retailers—particularly the tough-to-find 128GB model—Panos Panay, general manager of Microsoft Surface, announced that more stock is on the way.

Hours after going on sale Feb. 9, the 128GB version of the Surface Pro quickly sold out. Days later, it remains out of stock at Microsoft's online store.

Surface Pro slates with 64GB of storage are available at the Microsoft Store online, but they are in short supply or out of stock at most locations, including those of the company's retail partners, Best Buy and Staples. It's a situation that has many wondering if Microsoft has a hit on its hands or if it's a case of manufactured scarcity.

During a Windows "Winchat" on Twitter, Panos hinted that Microsoft didn't expect demand to so acutely outstrip supply. "#Surface @Windows 8 Pro became available and we're humbled by the customer demand," he tweeted.

Panos followed up by stating, "There continues to be great demand. We're working hard to restock so we can reach as many customers as soon as possible."

How long will the shortage last?

At least a few more days in the cast of the in-demand 128GB Surface Pro. "We are shipping more 64GB now to BBY, Staples, MS Store and online. 128GB at BBY and MS Stores by Saturday," said Panos responding to a Twitter chat participant.

Microsoft has reason to restock the Surface Pro, and fast.

Surface Pro, which can run x86 software unlike the RT version, is Microsoft's stab at the business tablet market, which got a little more heated last week when Apple released a 128GB version of its market-leading iPad. In a press release announcing the supersize iPad, the company made no bones about targeting businesses.

"iPad continues to have a significant impact on business with virtually all of the Fortune 500 and over 85 percent of the Global 500 currently deploying or testing iPad. Companies regularly utilizing large amounts of data such as 3D CAD files, X-rays, film edits, music tracks, project blueprints, training videos and service manuals all benefit from having a greater choice of storage options for iPad," stated Apple.

Despite mixed reviews, Microsoft has managed to drum up considerable interest in a tablet that slips seamlessly into Windows environments and runs practically all of the applications in the expansive Windows ecosystem. The iPad, despite its capabilities and huge app store, is still not a viable laptop replacement for many business users, which Microsoft is banking on.

The iPad can claim one advantage, however. iFixit, a tech DIY and self-repair site, gave the Surface Pro a 1 out of 10 score on its repairability scale, "the worst any tablet has ever received," according to Miroslav Djuric, iFixit's chief information architect. He noted that the device's upgradable internals are locked behind a shell that's hard to crack.

"The Surface Pro has some nifty features, like a removable SSD [solid state drive], but that upgradability is marred by non-accessibility to the internals. Adding salt to the wounds, the battery is buried behind the motherboard and glued down to the case," wrote Djuric.

With such a low score, the Surface Pro joins Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina Display in iFixit's hall of shame.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...