Microsoft has been pitching the Surface Pro as suitable for both notebook- and tablet-like tasks, with one top Windows executive recently comparing its price to a double purchase of Apple's MacBook Air laptop and iPad tablet.
Another interpretation could be that buyers were turned off by the 64GB model's relatively paltry amount of storage space available for applications and user content.
Microsoft's online store quickly ran through its allotment of the more expensive 128GB Surface Pro.
Microsoft added to the confusion over the 64GB Pro's customer-available storage space by first reporting that as 23GB, which quickly attracted criticism. Later, the company said that that number was inaccurate, and that the available space was actually 29GB.
To add to the confusion, that number was as reported by Windows, which uses a binary system to calculate a gigabyte as 1,073,741,824 bytes. Over the years, however, the more common definition of gigabyte has become one billion (1,000,000,000) bytes. Using the latter, the 64GB Surface Pro has approximately 32GB free, as ZDNet blogger Ed Bott recently reported.
Shortages are not unusual in technology product launches. Apple, for example, typically quickly exhausts supplies of a new device, then takes weeks or even months to match supply with demand.
Even so, some blog and media reports seized on the quick outage of the 128GB Surface Pro as a failure on Microsoft's part, dubbing the launch "dismal" or worse.
People commenting on Panay's Saturday blog post were often even more scathing in recounting their ultimately fruitless searches for the Surface Pro, criticizing Microsoft for not having enough units, and for refusing to take orders on its website, then fulfilling them later.
Along with the Surface Pro, Microsoft is selling discounted subscriptions for Office 365 Home Premium ($80, or $20 off the regular price for a one-year subscription) as well as discounted extended warranties ($99, or $50 off), when purchased with the device.