When it comes to tablets, Microsoft is the scrappy underdog. The company shipped a combined 900,000 units of its Surface RT and Surface Pro slates in the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest global estimates from research firm IDC. Most of those were Surface Pro units -- the business-oriented model that runs legacy Windows programs -- that just began shipping in February. The numbers were good enough to earn Microsoft the 5th spot in IDC's list of the Top 5 tablet vendors, but a closer look at the Surface stats shows a less upbeat scenario.
For instance, IDC reports that combined shipments (from Microsoft and its hardware partners) of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets in the first quarter totaled just 1.8 million. Remember, half of those were Surface tablets. Apple, by comparison, shipped 19.5 million iPads in Q1, and Samsung shipped 8.8 million of its various tablet models. To be fair, Microsoft's 5th place spot isn't bad considering the Surface's newness, and IDC reports that Redmond is in the process of widening the tablet's distribution.
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