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Microsoft to end Surface production, says scurrilous rumour

Chris Finnamore
10 Oct 2014
Surface Pro 3 teaser
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Anonymous sources abound in possible tall tale

Wildly unsubstantiated rumours point to Microsoft getting out of the hardware tablet business.

That the original Surface RT sold poorly is common knowledge; in July 2013 Microsoft had to write $900 million off its earnings due to unsold Surface tablets and accessories.

However, subsequent Surface models, especially the Pro models running the full versions of Windows 8.1 rather than the cut-down Windows RT, have gained rave reviews; we loved the latest Surface Pro 3, for example.

This makes the report in DigiTimes, the "daily newspaper for semiconductor, electronics, computer and communications industries in Taiwan and the Greater China region", according to Wikipedia, all the more surprising. The report states that Microsoft is "is reportedly planning to cancel the product line since shipment performance has been far lower than expectations", citing "sources from the upstream supply chain".

The report goes on to blame large-screen smartphones for "impacting tablet demand", and feels this will translate to poor sales for the latest Surface Pro 3.

We're not convinced. Microsoft claims the Surface Pro 3 is "the tablet that can replace your laptop", and for us that has always been its raison d'être; when travelling with a Surface, you just have to have one device in your bag for all your laptop and tablet needs. The fact that the Surface Pro 3 provides most of the functionality of a laptop means that it can never be replaced by a smartphone – even a big one.

Microsoft seems to be committed to the tablet for now, at least; on October 9th a bullish post appeared on its Surface Blog about the Pro 3, with the strapline "Committed to business". The first sentence says "Surface Pro 3 is off to a strong start with both individuals and businesses" and Microsoft goes on to list several prestigious companies that use the Surface Pro 3, including Coca-Cola, BMW and the Lotus F1 team. 

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