It’s All About Price: Microsoft’s Surface RT $150 Price Drop Tripled Monthly Sales Volume Throughout 2013

Surface 1A lot has happened since we released our last report on the traction of Microsoft’s Surface RT and Surface Pro Tablets in the marketplace!

After Black Friday 2012 we took a look at the adoption of the Microsoft Surface 1 worldwide in order to gauge the relative performance of Microsoft’s entrance into the hardware market.

So we decided to revisit this report, and were frankly amazed by what we found.

Microsoft’s July Price Cut of the Surface RT 1 Tripled Sales Volume

Microsoft worked hard during the first half of 2013 to improve the sales of their first generation Surface products:

Despite these efforts, reports surfaced beginning in March which indicated that Microsoft would only meet half of its original 3 million Surface RT units sales target. These were later confirmed by Microsoft’s FY13 earnings statements, which confirmed a $900m loss on Surface RT hardware.

Given this excess inventory of Surface RT 1 tablets and the upcoming release of the Surface 2 line of products, Microsoft slashed the prices of all Surface RT tablets by $150 beginning on July 15th, 2013.

So given that, how well did the Surface RT 1 perform last year?

total number of surface rt 1 devices

The chart above plots the total number of known Surface RT 1 units that connected to MarkedUp’s services over the course of the past year.

As you can see, the Surface RT 1 had sluggish adoption in early 2013 but rapidly accelerated beginning in March / April – the likely cause of that growth is due to Microsoft’s introduction of the Surface RT tablet into new markets and additional promotions /exposure described earlier.

However, the Surface RT’s growth really exploded around the June / July 2013 timeframe – right when the Surface’s prices slashed. Bear in mind that late Summer and Winter are Microsoft’s two strongest sales quarters for consumer products – “Back to School” and “Holiday” sales respectively.

Average number of monthly Surface RT 1 units sold prior to price drop 105,452 monthly units
Average number of monthly Surface RT 1 units sold after to price drop 358,044 monthly units

 

As you can see from the data table above, the monthly sales volume of Microsoft’s Surface RT 1 units tripled following the price cut – moving from roughly 100,000 units per month to 350,000 per month.

We plotted the net number of new devices per month to help confirm this:

surface devices activated per month

You can see a big ramp up of sales in July and August, followed by a drop in September. That’s natural – back to school sales typically end by Labor Day in early September, so there’s going to be a big drop following August.

But what’s really telling about this graph is that the number of units sold in September is still greater than what was sold in July (another strong B2S sales month), which is unusual. Here’s the raw data table to supplement the chart.

 Surface RT 1 Worldwide Adoption January 2013-2014

Month

New Devices

Total Devices

2013-01 75,535 75,535
2013-02 72,701 148,236
2013-03 83,678 231,914
2013-04 96,134 328,048
2013-05 120,522 448,570
2013-06 184,140 632,710
2013-07 246,299 879,009
2013-08 339,794 1,218,803
2013-09 249,798 1,468,601
2013-10 318,291 1,786,892
2013-11 321,131 2,108,023
2013-12 556,965 2,664,988
2014-01 474,030 3,139,018

 

It was generally believed that issues with the Windows 8 and Surface RT user experience were the tablet’s primary barriers to adoption. It is our conclusion that the real issues might have been awareness and price sensitivity.

Let’s try to validate this hypothesis with some more data….

Surface RT 1 vs. Surface RT 2

As mentioned earlier, the tech press generally believed that the Surface RT 1 units did not sell well because they, for lack of a better word, “sucked.” This assertion has gone largely unchallenged, even though Microsoft has doubled its revenue from Surface and the product line is considered to be doing very well.

So why is the Surface product line starting to look healthier for Microsoft now? Is the Surface 2 or Surface Pro such a drastic improvement over the Surface RT tablets that it’s been able to single-handedly double Microsoft’s Surface revenue? Not exactly.

surface rt1 vs surface rt2 new devices per month[4]

The Surface 2 was originally released in October 2013 – we saw a tiny number of them appear in August and September 2013, likely pre-release QA devices. We observed the same phenomena prior to the release of the original Surface products in 2012.

By the end of December 2013, we started seeing roughly 60,000 new Surface RT 2 devices activated per month – a pretty good start for a new device that’s still trying to build up brand recognition with consumers.

However, its older cousin, the Surface RT 1, sold well over 500,000 copies in December.

Surface RT 1 vs. Surface RT 2 Devices Activated per Month
Month Surface RT 1 Surface RT 2
2013-01 75,535 0
2013-02 72,701 0
2013-03 83,678 0
2013-04 96,134 0
2013-05 120,522 0
2013-06 184,140 0
2013-07 246,299 0
2013-08 339,794 131
2013-09 249,798 130
2013-10 318,291 10,315
2013-11 321,131 34,476
2013-12 556,965 62,905
2014-01 474,030 61,340
Total 3,139,018 169,299

 

Conclusion

It’s difficult to reconcile this data with the theory that the Surface RT 1’s inability to meet Microsoft’s original sales estimate was due to the product design itself, if you assume that the Surface RT 2 is an improved product (which it is.)

Aside from the innate improvements made to the Surface 2 and its novelty, the only other major difference between the two generations of Surface is price. Microsoft moves many times more tablets when the starting price point is at $349 versus $499.

In a subsequent update, we will perform a similar analysis for the higher-end Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 tablets.

MarkedUp’s Collection Methods

Our data is collected from apps that are installed directly onto end-user machines, so our data set is limited to “devices that have installed an app that uses MarkedUp.”

That being said, this data set is covers roughly 10% of all Windows 8 machines ever sold. Our numbers for Windows Phone are similarly impressive, but excluded from this data-set (naturally.)

There is some latency between when a device is sold to an end-user and when we “discover” it by way of an app installation; however, having been in market since before Windows 8 was launched, our data set has historically mirrored the market as it moves in real-time. We see giant surges on Christmas morning, after Black Friday, and so forth.

Devices can be counted multiple times, depending on the number of installed apps from distinct MarkedUp-enabled publishers and the version of our SDK that was used. Our facts and figures accurately reflect trends and changes in direction in the market, but not precise figures.

These reports are anonymized aggregations of our entire data-set.

The data in this report tracks the number of net new devices activated on our platform per month, starting from January 2013 to January 2014.

The Future of MarkedUp: Support for all Major Native App Platforms

MarkedUp Users and Customers,

If you’ve logged into your MarkedUp Analytics dashboards in the past day or so, you might have been surprised by the new look and feel of our site. We hope you enjoy it!

And it’s not just the look and feel of our site that’s different.

MarkedUp: No Longer Only for Windows 8, Windows Phone

The first thing you’ll see on markedup.com today is this:

Future native app plaftorms MarkedUp Analytics will support: Win32, Android, iOS

Our team has enjoyed working with WinRT and Windows Phone developers over the past year and a half, and we want to bring our services to developers working on other platforms too!

Our goal is to enable developers of all shapes and sizes ship better, more satisfying software to their end-users – and we want to do this on every platform developers care about!

Sign up for early access to Win32, iOS, and Android updates from MarkedUp

We’ll keep you updated on our latest progress for each platform, including access to early binaries and platform-specific services.

Click on any of the links below to sign up!

Coming Soon: MarkedUp Analytics for Windows Desktop Applications

win32

The first new platform that MarkedUp will fully support is Win32 – the platform used for building traditional Windows desktop applications.

We may have mobile and touch platforms like iOS and Android to thank for the resurgence of native application development over the past five years, but the Windows Desktop is the original developer platform.

The Windows Desktop economy is strong and growing, doing over $100b+ a year in license + services sales directly to end-users annually.

However, it’s a market that largely predates the Internet – and thus it’s had trouble adopting all of the software sales + marketing + product best practices that are commonly used throughout modern software development shops, largely due to lack of third party services and tools.

Modern software development practices depend on connected services like analytics and marketing automation to in order to make data-driven decisions, and it’s MarkedUp Analytics’ intention to finally make some of these services available to Windows Desktop developers.

Sign up for MarkedUp Analytics for Windows Desktop (Win32) waitlist.

The details

MarkedUp Analytics will support the following flavors of Win32 development:

  • Windows Forms: .NET 3.5 and later
  • Windows Presentation Foundation: .NET 3.5 and later
  • Native C/C++: Windows XP and later

Holy crap, you’re supporting C/C++ applications for Windows?!?!?!

Yes! Our native C/C++ components will support the all of the same APIs that are available in the .NET flavors of our Win32 SDK.

Worth noting: our C/C++ SDKs will depend on .NET.

How will your WPF / WinForms support compare to your WinRT and Windows Phone APIs?

They’re virtually identical. The only major difference is that our .NET 3.5 / .NET 4.0 / .NET 4.5 SDKs for WPF and WinForms development will expose more methods for manually handling events such as app start / termination.

Win32, by its very nature, is a much more open platform than WinRT / Windows Phone and thus the developers have a lot more options when it comes to how they manage the lifecycle of their applications.

Thus, we decided it would be inappropriate for MarkedUp to try to automate some of the things we do on WinRT and Windows Phone.

How can we access the Win32 binaries for MarkedUp Analytics?

As with our WinRT and Windows Phone SDKs, you will be able to download MarkedUp’s WinForms and WPF SDKs via NuGet.

For the native C/C++ SDKs, we will make downloads available via our CDN.

When will you make the Win32 SDKs available?

Find out.

iOS and Android

There are a ton of choices for iOS and Android when it comes to app analytics and reporting – when we were developing apps ourselves, we frankly felt that many of these services were difficult to use, had sub-standard reporting, and non-existent service.

We still feel that way.

Thus, we are making it a goal of our to provide support for iOS and Android in the near future! They’re further out than Win32 support, but we’ll keep you updated on the latest.

Best,

-The MarkedUp Analytics Team

WinRT and Windows Phone 8 Code-Sharing Pitfalls

One of the things Microsoft promised and touted highly prior to and during BUILD 2012 was that it would be possible to share reams of code between your Windows Store and Windows Phone 8 applications.

From MSDN’s “Windows Phone API Reference” here’s what Microsoft made available, taken directly from the article:

 

The Relationship between WinRT and Windows Phone 8 APIs

The diagram has three distinct areas and these are described as follows:

  1. The set of Windows Runtime API not supported on Windows Phone 8. The API surface area of Windows Runtime is very large, with over 11,000 members. We’ve adopted a subset for Windows Phone 8 that allows you to build compelling phone scenarios. Area 1 in the diagram above represents the APIs that are not available on Windows Phone 8.

  2. The set of Windows Runtime API adopted for Windows Phone 8. This is represented by area 2 in the above diagram and consists of approximately 2,800 members. For some types, we have not implemented certain members. For others we have added additional members to support phone-only features. In both cases, these differences are noted in the API reference documentation.

  3. We’ve added key APIs needed to build great apps for the phone. These are represented by area 3 in the diagram and total about 600 members. For example, we have brand-new APIs for speech synthesis and recognition, VOIP, and other features. Creating these as Windows Runtime style APIs means you can use them regardless of the programming language you use for your app.

Naturally there are portions of code that can’t be shared easily, such as device-specific / sensor capabilities and user interface.

However, Microsoft promised that a significant number of WinRT APIs would be made available on WP8 and for a long time touted that “copy and paste” portability would be achievable.

MarkedUp’s SDK technology doesn’t interact directly with the UI or sensors on either WinRT or Windows Phone 8, so the majority of the APIs we use are ones you’d expect to work with both platforms, such as:

  • File system and storage;
  • Serialization;
  • Networking;
  • Globalization;
  • the Windows Store APIs;
  • Licensing;
  • Async and multi-threading; and
  • Unit testing with MSTest.

Our experience in porting our code from WinRT (C#) to Windows Phone 8 (C#) was largely good, although we found some nasty pitfalls along that way. In light of BUILD 2013 and all of the new features coming to Windows Phone and Windows 8.1, we thought it would be a good time to share these.

Networking

System.Net.HttpClient – By far the biggest and most vociferous WinRT & WP8 compatibility issue echoed from the development community is the fact that System.Net.HttpClient, Microsoft’s modern HTTP client that is built from the group up to work with async, advanced media types, RESTful APIs, and so forth. HttpClient is a huge boon to our productivity in the course of working with WinRT.

For reasons that I am not privy to, Microsoft did not include HttpClient in the core framework for Windows Phone 8, so MarkedUp uses System.Net.WebRequest wraps it with the appropriate async and error-handling decorators.

One of the major pitfalls of WebRequest is that it throws an exception whenever you receive an HTTP code that isn’t in the 200 (“Success) category. Trying to handle these exceptions asynchronously complicates things considerably, but it can be done.

It should be noted that HttpClient for Windows Phone 8 is available as a separate NuGet package. We can’t use any third party dependencies in our SDK but you are certainly free to use these inside your apps.

System.Net.WebRequest APIs are different across .NET 4.5 / Windows Phone 8 and WinRT – One strategy for dealing with the lack of HttpClient availability on Windows Phone 8 is just to use System.Net.WebRequest everywhere, including WinRT. This is something we tested since standardizing on a single HTTP layer helps reduce our QA overhead.

Our experience was that while vanilla .NET 4.5 and Windows Phone 8 have 100% reuse and compatibility when it comes to WebRequest, this is not the case with WinRT.

For instance, WebRequest does not have any directly settable ContentLength or UserAgent properties in WinRT; WebRequest has a different interface altogether for forming HTTP request bodies in WinRT. Additionally, the System.Net.WebException enum implementation in WinRT is missing a number of options that make it difficult to perform error-handling consistently across platforms.

We ultimately determined that it was less expensive to maintain two different network stack implementations for Windows Phone and WinRT than to try to work around all of the incompatibilities and different behaviors with WebRequest in WinRT.

File System

Windows.Storage.Search is not fully implemented on Windows Phone 8 – For most WinRT developers, Windows.Storage.Search is probably used for one specific purpose inside any given app: determining whether or not a file exists.

Since there isn’t an equivalent to File.Exists in the Windows.Storage namespace, most developers (us included) have to resort to something like this:

One issue that we ran into early on in our QA for Windows Phone is that not all search options which use a Windows.Storage.Search.CommonFileQuery enumeration are implemented in Windows Phone 8. For instance, CommonFileQuery.OrderByName will throw a NotImplemented exception.

However, you can work around most of these issues by just using CommonFileQuery.DefaultQuery if the ordering of the files returned isn’t particularly important.

Licensing

CurrentApp.LicenseInformation doesn’t actually tell you if your Windows Phone 8 app is running as a trial or not – WinRT developers rely on CurrentApp as the single source of truth for all things Windows Store and licensing on Windows 8, and the class is available on Windows Phone 8 and is what developers use for executing in-app purchases.

However, for reasons unknown, the data returned from CurrentApp.LicenseInformation doesn’t have the IsTrial flag set in accordance with the actual licensing status on Windows Phone. Instead, you have to use the legacy API from Windows Phone 7, new Microsoft.Phone.Marketplace.LicenseInformation().IsTrial(), to get that information.

In order to make things more tenable for our x-platform development with WP8 and WinRT, we wrapped CurrentApp into a class called CurrentAppProxy and have it call the appropriate WP8-specific method when inferring licensing information.

Commerce

CurrentAppSimulator does not exist for Windows Phone 8, thus there’s no built-in way to test in-app purchases – We depend on CurrentAppSimulator when testing anything that touches a trial conversion or in-app purchases, so we were a little shocked when we discovered that it isn’t included in Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft subsequently shipped their own mock in-app purchase library for Windows Phone 8, but since we have a shared testbed between WinRT and WP8 and can’t use any third party dependencies anywhere in our SDK we ended up writing our own. We will likely open source it on Github eventually.

No ListingInformation.CurrentMarket – One of the really handy features of ListingInformation in WinRT is the ability for it to tell you the current marketplace of any given user right off the bat using ListingInformation.CurrentMarket; this is important from an analytics point of view and really important if you manage your own commerce engine and want to localize prices in different currencies.

In Windows Phone 8, this method throws a NotImplemented exception. So how do you look up this information on WP8? Thanks to some smarties at StackOverflow, it turns out that System.Globalization.RegionInfo.CurrentRegion can’t be changed by the end user and is the culture reported by the phone to the store for any in-app purchases.

Globalization

RegionInfo uses different constructor arguments on WinRT and Windows Phone 8 – in WinRT, you can construct a new RegionInfo object by passing along the two-character ISO country code that you might receive from a marketplace method. This works great particularly when coupled with CurrentApp.

In Windows Phone 8, you’ll get an ArgumentException every time – in WP8 RegionInfo only accepts the culture name itself, i.e. “en-US,” as the constructor argument, not the region name.

GlobalizationPreferences.HomeGeographicRegion does not exist in Windows Phone 8
when try to establish the local time and culture for a user in WinRT, GlobalizationPreferences.HomeGeographicRegion makes this a breeze if you need to account for local time or any other globalization preference. This API does not exist in Windows Phone 8, but because a user can’t change their region settings you just just use RegionInfo.CurrentRegion.

Serialization

DataContractJsonSerializer doesn’t actually respond to EmitTypeInformation flags – one of the lesser-used features of DataContractJsonSerializer is its ability to control whether or not it includes type information in its outbound JSON payloads via the EmitTypeInformation property; this feature is really useful if you’re sending data to an ASP.NET MVC service and want to disable type hints so the model binder doesn’t fail.

Unfortunately, in Windows Phone 8 they never implemented the control flow that responds to this flag, so you get type information always whether you want it or not. Ultimately, we had to parse out type information using a regular expression upon serialization in order to resolve this issue for Windows Phone 8.

We hope this has been information – let us know if you have any feedback in the comments!

How to Install and Run the Windows 8.1 Preview in Hyper-V

The big announcement from //BUILD 2013 is the pending arrival of Windows 8.1, aka “Windows Blue,” and Microsoft made Windows 8.1 available for download immediately following the //BUILD keynote on Wednesday.

Like many developers, the MarkedUp Analytics team is naturally excited to try new things; that being said – we also don’t like having to wipe a dev machine and re-image it in the event that a beta release of Windows isn’t compatible with tools we use for doing our jobs every day.

So, we use Hyper-V or VirtualBox and run Windows 8.1 in a VM until it’s released to market.

Here’s how to get Windows 8.1 running in Hyper-V:

1. Download the Windows 8.1 Preview ISO

Download any of the Windows 8.1 Preview ISO images here. Pick whichever one best suits your needs. I’m going to use the English 64-bit .ISO.

2. Open Hyper-V and create a new virtual machine

If you’re running Windows 8 already, Hyper-V comes built into the operating system. Once the Windows 8.1 preview ISO is finished downloading you’ll want to create a new VM.

step1 - new VM

We’ll name our VM “Windows 8.1 Preview” and use the default storage location.

step2 - name VM

Windows 8 needs at least 2GB of RAM on a 64-bit system; I’m going to give this VM 4GB since I plan on running Visual Studio and some other RAM-intensive software on it later.

step3 - allocate RAM to VM

For now we’re going to leave the VM’s network as “Not Connected” – we’ll create a Virtual Network Adapter for it later.

If you already have a Hyper-V virtual network adapter that can share Internet connectivity with the host machine, use it here. Otherwise we’ll add one later after the OS installation on the VM is complete.

step4 - set VM network to not connected

Windows 8 needs at least 20GB of disk space on a 64-bit system. I’m going to give this VM 40GB and I’m going to use a dynamically expanding disk.

Dynamically expanding disks will be slow initially, but it saves room on the host machine in the event that you don’t occupy the entire VHD volume immediately.

If speed is an issue, you can create a fixed-size disk up front.

step5 - set VHD creation options for VM

3. Install Windows 8.1 Preview from ISO

Now we’re going to use the Windows 8.1 Preview .ISO file we downloaded earlier to install the operating system while we finalize our VM.

stp6 - install OS via Windows 8.1 ISO

This option will have you complete the Windows 8.1 Preview installation the first time the VM boots, using the .ISO file you downloaded earlier as the bootable media.

With all of those steps complete, you should now see the “Windows 8.1 Preview” VM on your Hyper-V list:

step7 - verify that Windows 8.1 VM is available in Hyper-V

Select the Windows 8.1 Preview VM and start it, and you should see the first “Install Windows” screen after a few seconds:

step8 - start the Windows 8.1 VM and install the OS

Click next.

You’ll need to enter in a product key for Windows 8.1 Preview during the first part of the installation process.

The product key for Windows 8.1 Preview is NTTX3-RV7VB-T7X7F-WQYYY-9Y92F, according to Microsoft’s official Windows 8.1 Preview installation instructions.

step9 - enter product key for Windows 8.1 Preview

If you see the following message and it asks you to choose between an upgrade and a custom installation, Select “Custom: Install Windows only.”

step10 - select custom install for Windows 8.1 Preview

Install Windows 8.1 on the VHD that we created earlier.

step11 - install Windows 8.1 preview on VHD created earlier

Let the Windows 8.1 Preview installation run to completion. And after 30 minutes or so you should be able to create a local Windows account and log in.

step12 - verify Windows 8.1 installation

4. If you don’t have one already, create a Virtual Network Adapter for Windows 8.1

If you didn’t have a Virtual Network Adapter ready during step 2, we’ll create one now.

First, shut down your Windows 8.1 Preview VM and turn it off – we’re about to make some changes to it.

step13 - shut off Windows 8.1 VM

Open up the Hyper-V manager and go to “Virtual Switch Manager.”

step14 - go Virtual Switch Manager in Hyper-V

Select “New virtual network switch.” Give the switch a name and make it an External Network. If you have multiple physical network adapters (i.e. ethernet and WiFi), use whichever one you use most often. Check the “allow management operating system to share this network adapter” box.

step15 - create new Virtual Adapter in HyperV

Apply changes.

Go back to your VMs and right click on the “Windows 8.1 Preview” VM you created – select “Settings,” then select “Network Adapter.”

step16 - Windows 8.1 VM network adapter settings

Change the Virtual switch to the new switch you just created; mine is called “Magical Switch.”

step17 - set virtual switch on Windows 8.1 Preview VM

Apply changes. Before we try starting the VM, let’s make sure that our switch was set up correctly – I often have trouble getting Hyper-V’s network adapters to behave properly the first time around.

Go to Control Panel and then to View Network Connections. Right click on the new switch you just created and select Properties.

step18 - verify virtual switch properties

Only the following properties should be set:

  • Client for Microsoft Networks
  • QoS Packet Scheduler
  • File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks
  • Microsoft LLDP Protocol Driver
  • Link-layer Topology Discovery Mapper I/O Driver
  • Link-layer Topology Discovery Responder
  • Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and
  • Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)

You will likely need to reboot your host machine in order to get the Internet working again. Go ahead and do that now.

5. Start Windows 8.1 Preview; Profit

You now should be able to start your Windows 8.1 VM in Hyper-V and connect to the Internet.

Install complete

Please give this guide a try and let us know if you run into any trouble!

MetroAppSite: Free, Open Source Metro-Style Website Templates for Your Windows Store Apps

Getting customers to notice and discover your Windows Store apps is hard, but you can reach users who aren’t inside the Windows Store using simple websites designed to promote your apps.

In addition, if your Windows Store app requires access to the Internet you are required by Windows Store policy to publish and link to a privacy policy hosted online (section 4.1.1.)

We decided to make life a little easier for Windows Store developers and built MetroAppSite – a fully responsive Metro-style website that uses Twitter Bootstrap and other standard frameworks to help developers promote their Windows Store apps.

And like most of our customers, we’re a .NET shop, so we built an ASP.NET MVC4 version of MetroAppSite too!

Features

Here are some of the great features that you get with MetroAppSite:

Metro theming and branding

Give your promotional website the same Metro look-and-feel that your users experience when they download your app from the Windows Store.

We even include a Microsoft Surface screenshot carousel for you to use to show off your Windows Store app’s look-and-feel.

metro-branding-metroappsite

MetroAppSite uses BootMetro and Twitter Bootstrap to give Windows Store developers an easy-to-modify, brandable template they can use to their own ends.

Fully responsive and touch/mobile-friendly

MetroAppSite’s CSS and design is fully responsive and touch-optimized out of the box. It looks great in full-sized web browsers and on mobile devices too!

metroappsite-mobile
Integrates seamlessly with third party services like Google Analytics and UserVoice

Unfortunately there isn’t a MarkedUp Analytics for websites yet, but in the meantime we made it dead-simple to integrate MetroAppSite with Google Analytics so you can measure your pageviews and visitors.

uservoice-logo

Additionally, we added hooks to integrate UserVoice directly into your app’s site so you can collect feedback and support tickets from users easily and seamlessly. UserVoice is what we used for our customer support at MarkedUp and we’ve had a great experience with it!

Templated privacy policy in order to make it easy for you to satisfy Windows Store certification requirements

Writing privacy policies can be a pain, so we made it easy for you to generate a privacy policy for your app using PrivacyChoice.org. You can paste these right into MetroAppSite and meet Windows Store certification requirements easily and thoroughly.

Demo Sites

We created some simple MetroAppSite deployments for you so can see what they look like in production:

Download

MetroAppSite is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license and is free for you to use in commercial or non-commercial projects.

Contribution

We happily accept pull requests via Github.

Microsoft Surface Adoption Worldwide

We made MarkedUp Analytics privately available to some Windows 8 developers in September, and thus we’ve had a chance to watch the Windows 8 ecosystem grow since well prior to its official 10/26 launch.

markedup-microsoft-surfaceAs many of you may have read this past week, Windows 8 sold over 40,000,000 licenses in its first month since release. That’s huge!

However, what about the Surface RT tablet Microsoft released on the same day? How well has it sold since?

MarkedUp Analytics was installed into some of the biggest apps in the Windows Store a month prior to the launch of Microsoft Surface; that puts us in a good position to use our data to make some educated inferences as to how well the Surface has really fared in the device marketplace.

Surface and the Windows 8 OEM Landscape

Before we jump into the specifics of Microsoft Surface, let’s consider the Windows 8 OEM ecosystem.

Since 9/28, MarkedUp has observed 307 distinct PC device manufacturers in our global data set for Windows 8 apps.

OEMs like HP, Dell, and Samsung still have a significant presence in the Windows 8 market, and the majority of it from devices that have been upgraded from Windows 7 and XP.

These traditional PC manufacturers also had a small, but statistically significant head-start over Microsoft in terms of total market share, because developers and big enterprises have had early access to the full verison Windows 8 since 8/15.

Windows 8 Market Share by OEM

This chart represents total market share by OEM across all devices that have used an app with MarkedUp installed in it since 10/26 until 11/24/2012, spanning roughly one month since Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface officially launched.

According to our data set, Microsoft has only one device in market – the Surface RT tablet. Our data set showed that Microsoft had statistically 0.0% market share prior to 10/26*, the day Surface and Windows 8 officially went on sale.

Microsoft’s 7.77% market share on this chart is represented solely by the adoption of the Surface RT tablet, and making Microsoft the 4th most popular OEM among Windows 8 users currently.

This number is also reflected in our analysis across all Windows 8 device models, rather than manufacturers:

Microsoft Surface Total Adoption v11-24-2012

MarkedUp has observed 11,385 distinct Windows 8 device models as of 11/24, and most of them are upgraded Windows 7 / Windows XP devices.

Microsoft Surface is by far the single most-used Windows 8 device from this cornucopia of hardware, occupying roughly 7.76% of the market.

The next most-used device model is the Samsung Sens Series laptop, like the Series 9 ultrathin notebook, with 3.31% market share, less than half of what the Surface RT has.

So with all of this market share data in mind, what’s the adoption rate for Microsoft Surface thus far?

Microsoft Surface Adoption Rate

So how quickly has the Surface RT tablet been adopted worldwide?

Well, we don’t have the absolute numbers since MarkedUp doesn’t have 100% market penetration across every unique Windows 8 device (working on it!) but we do have more than enough data to draw some inferences about the rate as which Surface RT tablets are being adopted.

The following chart shows the cumulative growth of the Surface RT’s installation base:

Microsoft Surface Daily Adoption v11-24-2012

As we mention in the callout on this chart, we decided that the best way to plot the growth of the Surface was to create an index and plot all of the cumulative growth relative to the index.

We set the index value 1 to be equal to the number of Surface RT tablets we saw activated on 10/26, the day it first went on sale. The final value on this chart has an index value of 120 for 11/24/2012, 29 days after the Surface went on sale initially – meaning that there were 120 times as many Surfaces activated by 11/24 than there were on 10/26.

So if Microsoft sold 10,000 Surfaces on day 1, then by the rate of growth on this chart they will have sold at least 1,200,000 units by 11/24.

Remember, this chart shows active devices that are being used and have consumed apps from the Windows Store, not devices that have been sold. The numbers on MarkedUp’s charts are effectively a floor for sales given that devices are sold before they’re used.

Microsoft Surface Adoption by Country

So we’ve shown you how quickly Surface RT tablets are being activated, but what about where they’re being activated?

Microsoft Surface Usage by Country v11-30-2012

MarkedUp has observed active Surface RT activity from users in 70 countries on 6 continents thus far, so the Surface is appears to be making inroads on Microsoft’s promise of broad international distribution for Windows 8 and Windows Store app developers.

In the chart above we broke out the percentage of Surface RT distribution by country including the 10 largest markets; the subsequent 60 markets all trail off quickly.

The United States has an overwhelming 68.52% share of all Surface RT tablets activated thus far with the UK coming in at a distant second with 9.10% share.

Our numbers across all Windows 8 devices are slightly different, but the US and UK both have dominate leads in those figures too.

One factor that may skew MarkedUp’s numbers towards the English-speaking world is that many app publishers forgo full international distribution in the Windows Store due to the fact that many parts of the world, including China and countries that have tighter content restriction laws, lengthen the Windows Store approval process and can even cause the app to be rejected outright.

So on that note, we strongly suspect that China in particular is under-represented on this chart given that it’s a massive market, but one that is more difficult for many app publishers to reach due to content restrictions.

Conclusions

Based on the data above, here is what we conclude:

  • The Microsoft Surface is the most heavily used ARM device in market for Windows 8 by a wide margin thus far and it is the single most-used device overall for Windows 8;
  • Surface’s growth appears to be strong, but it’s difficult to extrapolate the absolute number of units have been sold without knowing what the total day 1 sales were;
  • Surface RT is being adopted in primarily English-speaking countries, but has broad international reach; and
  • The majority of devices in market for Windows 8 are upgrades from previous versions of Windows, not new devices that came with Windows 8 installed; we’ll see how this changes as we collect more data from the Holiday season. The fact that the Samsung Sens Series made a strong appearance on our device model breakout shows signs of a growing ecosystem of net new Windows 8 machines from non-Microsoft OEMs.

Thanks for reading! If you’re a Windows 8 developer and would like access to the beta of MarkedUp Analytics for Windows 8, click here!

Appendix

Here are some other interesting statistics from our OEM data set:

  • The remaining 24.48% OEM market share not shown on the OEM chart represents 296 long-tail, smaller OEMs including VMWare virtual machines and a number of motherboard manufacturers used in home-made PCs.
  • There are three different device architectures that Windows 8 supports: ARM, x86, and x64. Surface is the only major ARM device in market thus far, although there are more ARM (RT) tablets on the way. In our public Windows 8 launch data set, we’ve observed the following trend consistently since the Windows 8 launch on 10/26:
    1. x64, 64-bit Intel hardware, is used by roughly 70% of the daily active usersfor the entire Windows 8 ecosystem every day;
    2. x86, 32-bit Intel hardware, is used by roughly 20%; and
    3. ARM, the new architecture for lightweight tablets like the Surface, is used by the remaining 10% of daily active users.

*MarkedUp observed some Microsoft Surface RT devices appear as early as 10/18 in our data set, but not enough to be statistically significant. We suspect that they were preview devices given to select app partners, press, and others with early access.

5 Key Themes from Microsoft on the Future of Windows and WinRT from the //BUILD Keynote

Build Windows 8

This week I’m attending //BUILD conference in Redmond, WA on Microsoft’s main campus alongside thousands of other .NET / Windows developers. The keynote ended about an hour ago and I wanted to publish my thoughts on some of the important takeaways from Ballmer’s talk.

Microsoft’s Points of Emphasis

1. “Microsoft can only win by training consumers to expect consistent behavior, availability, and synchronized data across all of their different devices”

WinRT isn’t just about tablets – it’s also about fundamentally changing the way desktop software is consumed and unifying mobile / desktop / tablet and probably console apps all under one consolidated platform.

The unification of these platforms is the future of Microsoft; training consumers to expect consistent behavior and access to data across all of their devices is the only way Microsoft will be able to dethrone Apple and Google in mobile / tablet and protect themselves in desktop / console in the long-run.

Ultimately, Microsoft is really the only company that can execute well on native software, services, and devices. They are playing to their strengths (ecosystem and platform) and are doing it well here.

2. “The fate of WinRT is in the hands of developers big and small.”

Microsoft desperately needs developers to make WinRT a success.

Microsoft, for the first time since Win32 emerged as the victor in the desktop wars of old, is in a position where it needs developers more than they need Microsoft.

The unified vision behind WinRT will not work without the buy-in of developers both big and small, from Facebook to the individual hobbyist developer.

Microsoft will do the hard work of putting devices in the hands of consumers that bring WinRT applications to the forefront (which I suspect is the real reason why the ARM-only Surface shipped so far ahead of the Intel one.) But it is totally reliant on developers to put the content in-store that consumers actually want to use.

3. “Microsoft and Nokia will work themselves to death to win the support of developers.”

Compounding key takeaway #2, Microsoft and Nokia both made commitments to put hardware (Nokia phones, Surfaces for us //BUILD attendees) into the hands of developers who build apps.

Having worked at Microsoft Developer Platform Evangelism throughout the entire WP7 push, I can tell you that this is no joke – Microsoft will find a way to arm its developers with hardware now that it’s all generally available.

But they’re not stopping there – Microsoft is going to continue to push training events, hackathons, webcasts, and everything it can possibly do to train developers and make it easier than ever to learn a new platform and actually ship an app on it.

I think this is tremendously positive and every developer who’s interested in the platform will have multiple opportunities to learn it on Microsoft’s dime.

4. “Don’t ship apps that don’t leverage the platform.”

Reading between the lines in some of the keynote speeches and the first couple of sessions I poked my nose in, you can interpret the following from Microsoft:

Developers who carbon copy their work byte-by-byte from previous platforms, including web apps, are doing themselves a disservice and will have their lunch eaten by developers who take advantage of charms, live tiles, and all of the other unique built-in features to Windows 8. Please take advantage of the platform if you’re going to build an app for it!

This echoes the same general theme I wrote about in an earlier post decrying Windows 8 developers shooting themselves in the foot with respect to Windows Store economics: Windows 8 is different so treat it differently than iOS / Android / Web.

Speaking more broadly, most consumers have never interacted with Metro much, aside from perhaps the Xbox launch screen.

If Metro and WinRT are going to take off with consumers then it will be due to the highly differentiated hardware and software capabilities of the platform, not price point or any other factors.

If developers don’t take advantage of those differentiated OS capabilities, then it limits the overall differentiation of Windows 8 from everything else in market, including prior versions of Windows.

5. “Windows Phone 8 is just as important to the success of Microsoft as Windows 8.”

Extending theme #1 a little bit further… Windows Phone 8 was heavily, heavily emphasized over Windows 8 itself during Ballmer’s talk… We’d heard hardly a peep about it prior to it’s official launch yesterday.

Here’s why: the success of Microsoft’s entire consumer software ecosystem rides on consumers adopting the Metro UI and getting used to the rest of Microsoft’s services ecosystem, which includes your apps in the Windows Store.

Windows 8 will move hundreds of millions of units regardless, due to the inertia of Microsoft’s desktop / laptop business alone. The rise of Microsoft Surface devices we’ve seen on our Windows 8 launch tracker also makes the future for WinRT tablets look a lot more promising than it was a week ago.

However, without a significant presence in mobile, Microsoft and Windows will always have the threat of a unified iOS / OS X ecosystem there to sweep the desktop market out from underneath it. Windows Phone 8 is not a side show – it’s part of the core front Microsoft is forming against Apple on consumer computing.

Parting Thoughts

This is a really exciting time to be a Windows developer. The opportunities for developers to build sustainable businesses around Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps are huge and there for the taking.

On top of that, the ecosystem has never been more accessible – you can build native apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 with C# or C++, and I suspect we’ll eventually see WinJS apps make their way onto Windows Phone 8 too.

That’s why our team at MarkedUp is excited to be doing what we’re doing :)

Windows 8 Launch Tracker: Follow the Adoption of Windows 8 as it Happens

windows8logoHave you been reading the news about Windows 8 lately?

It’s October 26th – Windows 8 is finally here, as is the Microsoft Surface WinRT tablet! And as the links above show, consumers and developers alike are really, really excited.

MarkedUp has been diligently helping Windows 8 developers measure how their users consume their apps since September, and so we have a unique opportunity to use our growing data set to help curious onlookers and technology enthusiasts get to track the adoption of Windows 8 as it happens.

So, without further adieu, allow us to introduce you to our Windows 8 Launch Tracker!

Windows 8 Launch Tracker - Powered by MarkedUp AnalyticsWe’re going to update the statistics daily and help developers track how quickly Windows 8 is picked up by the community at large, using our entire data set.

Sampling Methodology

Our methodology for sampling the data displayed in the charts is straightforward: we take a seven day rolling average of all active users and new installations detected from an app and calculate rate of change between them.

There are some other things we do to try to prevent outliers from spiking the graph (i.e. apps that acquire a large number of users rapidly, usually popular titles ported from other platforms) but generally it’s all just rate of changes against a moving average of new devices activated and daily active users.

You’ll notice a big surge on the 19th – that’s due to a trend that started on the 15th of October where the Windows Store approved nearly 20% of the current apps that are in market now (roughly 5000 apps in market,) which subsequently lead to a big surge in our numbers.

If the Windows Store goes through another sustained round of high-volume approvals that will similarly spike our numbers again.

We’re working on refining our methodology for the “Windows 8 by chipset architecture” graph at the bottom since we expect it to change radically with the availability of new ARM devices.

We’re going to email out more detailed trends and analysis on the growth of the Windows 8 ecosystem; if you want more detailed reports on trends with Windows 8, sign up for our newsletter!