Microsoft's Surface RT getting a tiny share of tablet Web traffic

Chitika study says RTs share is less than 1%

Sales of the Microsoft Surface RT tablet are difficult to measure, but one study indicates it's only generating a tiny portion of Web traffic -- less than 1%.

In fact, according to Chitika Insights, Surface RT tablets accounted for just 0.13% of all tablet Web traffic in the U.S. and Canada from Nov. 12 to 18.

Chitika serves up Web ads to the Internet and measures how many users come to pages containing those ads. For its study about the Surface RT, Chitika looked at a sample of tens of millions of tablet "impressions" during the week involved.

Chitika spokesman Andrew Weber called the 0.13% Web traffic from Surface RT a "slow initial uptake of the device by consumers" which indicates that Microsoft still has "a good amount of ground to make up against current competitors."

Apple's iPad has consistently ranked far above all other tablets in Web usage traffic, Chitika has found. For a closer competitor, Chitika looked at the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets. Together, the two Nexus tablets generated seven times the Web traffic as the Surface RT during the same period, reaching 0.91% of tablet traffic.

Chitika acknowledged that the Nexus 7 had a head start, debuting in July, although the Nexus 10 didn't debut until Nov. 13.

Still, Chitika argued that Web usage for the Surface RT needs to improve for Microsoft to attract more developer interest in the device. "A clearer picture of the device's longer-term prospects will emerge following Christmas," Chitika said in a blog post.

Microsoft hasn't divulged sales figures for the Surface RT, which went on sale Oct. 26 and starts at $499. However, Microsoft has decided to expand the number of retail locations that sell the device and to increase production.

Recent sales estimates for the 10.6-in. Surface RT range from 600,000 by brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton to 1.3 million by IHS iSuppli for all of 2012.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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