Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Holiday shoppers can now purchase the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, Apple iPad Mini 3 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 at a heavily discounted price from Best Buy and Amazon. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

They may baffle the NFL, but Microsoft’s beleaguered Surface tablet is starting to show signs of life. Sales of the Microsoft Surface tablet line drew $908 million in revenue in the third quarter, largely due to momentum driven by the Surface Pro 3, which was released in June.

That’s an increase of $508 million, or 127 percent, in revenue for the Surface over the same period last year. It’s welcome growth for the tablet, which aims to merge the desktop and mobile experience into one. But it revenue numbers still pale in comparison to competitors such as Apple, which drew in $5.3 billion in revenue in the same quarter with its iPad, a device line that has been faced with declining sales this year.

Microsoft hasn’t disclosed unit sales of the surface, but even estimating sales using the Surface Pro 3’s low end price point of $799 only suggests a little more than 1 million tablets sold over its third quarter. Those numbers don’t suggest that Microsoft will be taking over the tablet market anytime soon, but it sparks some hope for the tablet, which didn’t even make the top five rankings for tablet shipments from IDC during the July quarter.

It remains to be seen whether Microsoft can turn the Surface line into a hit. But it’s one of many efforts by the company to stay relevant in an environment dominated by mobile devices running iOS and Google Android.