Microsoft is starting to make some serious progress against Apple's iPad


Microsoft Satya Nadella


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

In October, Microsoft did something it's never done before, it generated more revenue selling its Surface line of PC/tablet hybrids to online consumers than Apple made selling iPads, according to data from 1010data.


For the month, Microsoft took 45% of online purchases of tablets by revenue compared to Apple at 17%. (1010data gathers anonymous data from millions of online shoppers in the US.)

Since July, revenue from online tablet sales has been on the rise, growing from a monthly average of $145 million in the first half of the year to $205 million in the second half, 1010data tells us.

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The leap in revenue is due to two things. For one, Microsoft is commanding a higher average price for its Surface devices. The average price paid for a Microsoft device was $844, versus an Apple iPad at $392.

For another, a bunch of new products were released in the second half of the year, including the Surface Pro 3 in June, iPad mini 4 in September, the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book in October.


And yes, 1010data did categorize the Surface Book as a "tablet" for this research, thanks to its touchscreen and detachable keyboard. It also included other convertibles in this market, such as the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro.

Without these so-called "laplets" the tablet market would look like it was "flat or even declining when in reality, the category is evolving. In the last 12 months, laplets accounted for 16% of sales for the tablet category," a 1010data spokesperson tells us.

Now, admittedly, online sales represent only a slice of total sales. They don't include retail sales, or corporate sales of devices purchased in bulk. But it's still a pretty good early indicator that Microsoft's hybrid "Surface" strategy is working with consumers, making them choose a new Windows device over an iPad.

On the other hand, Microsoft still has a long way to go before it knocks Apple from its market-leading perch. For the whole year, Apple came in with 34% tablet market share of online tablet sales by revenue, with Microsoft trailing at 19%.