Microsoft shuts down talk of the Surface line's impending demise
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At the 10th Canalys Channels Forum that took place a few days ago, a panel of PC hardware executives representing companies including Lenovo and Dell boldly predicted that Microsoft would kill its Surface line of tablets and laptops by 2019. The Redmond-based company's inability to make a significant profit off of its hardware was suggested as the reason for the expected discontinuation of Surface-branded devices.
Today, Microsoft Corporate VP of Devices Panos Panay struck back, emphatically qualifying such talk as nothing more than "tabloid rumors."
"It's so far from the truth," Panay said in reference to last week's surprising comments. According to him, Microsoft isn't making Surface devices solely to make money, rather to also develop hardware and software improvements that can eventually be applied to the Windows 10 operating system and other companies' Windows-based products. The Stylus Pen's increased range and accuracy is an example of one such improvement, the Microsoft executive said.
Last week's remarks are not without substance, however. As Business Insider notes, the failure of Windows RT-based Surface tablets forced Microsoft to write off nearly US$1 billion in 2013, in response to what it termed "inventory adjustments," referring to unsold devices and big discounts on those devices that did make it off the shelves and into customers' hands. On the other hand, since the launch of the Surface 3 the hybrid tablet line has experienced a steady rise in popularity, making another such write-off unlikely.
Even if the worse were to happen and Microsoft ended up with another huge flop in the near-future, Panay believes that the company will not kill the Surface but will simply "try harder."