Microsoft to begin phasing out the Surface 3 tablet
The Surface tablets have become a success story for Microsoft and the PC market. It took three iterations before the Windows tablet could become a viable alternative for a standard Ultrabook. Before then, the iPad had an almost universal grip on the tablet market and now most major manufacturers have Windows tablets to compete directly against the Surface Pro series.
As successful as the Surface Pro 3 has become, Microsoft blogger Brad Sams from Thurrott.com is claiming that the Redmond company is ready to phase out the more affordable Surface 3 with a sell-by date of December 2016. Microsoft has confirmed that configuration options will slowly dwindle until the model bows out of the market completely.
More interestingly, Microsoft has yet to announce a direct successor to the Surface 3. Its eventual end-of-life date could mean that the company is ready to either drop the more affordable non-Pro series altogether or is at the cusp of announcing a Surface 4. The former scenario is entirely possible as Microsoft's current strategy involves focusing on high-end products with superior performance and connectivity instead of offering cheaper alternatives.
Well-known Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott, however, has his own theory on the matter. He believes that Microsoft may be gearing up to promote a potential Surface Phone in place of a Surface 4. Having both in the market simultaneously could cannibalize sales from one another, so the company may be hedging its bets on a Windows Phone refresh.