Microsoft likely to pull plug on moribund Surface tablet business, sources say

“Microsoft continues to see weak sales for its Surface Pro 3 tablet and is reportedly planning to cancel the product line since shipment performance has been far lower than expectations, according to sources from the upstream supply chain,” Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai report for DigiTimes.

“Lacking a sufficient number of distribution partners, plus high prices, the first- and second-generation Surface tablets are estimated to have created losses of about US$1.7 billion, the sources noted,” Chen and Tsai report. “The sources believe sales of the Surface Pro 3 are unlikely to surpass one million units, adding that Microsoft is also not very aggressive about development of a next-generation Surface and is likely to terminate the product line.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iPad, killer.

As we wrote over one and two years ago, respectively:

That dumbass kickstand is yet another ill-considered, misguided, corporate committee-driven “differentiation” squirted out of Microsoft’s back door unbidden onto the public.

Microsoft is staffed with stupid and/or lazy people. There’s no other explanation besides crippling narcissism – which is a very real possibility. Most people use iPads while lounging around. All Microsoft’s Surface “team” had to do was buy some real iPads and use them for a few weeks. Steve Jobs himself even demonstrated the iPad while reclining in a comfy leather chair, not sitting upright at a friggin’ desk. Microsoft was shown the way and, once again, they failed to properly follow Apple’s lead. By now, that’s just stupid and/or lazy.

Microsoft suffers from delusions of grandeur. They think they matter and that people will buy their pretend iPad over other pretend iPads because it’s from Microsoft. Microsoft does not matter. Microsoft no longer has the power to sell superfluous products. The world already has iPad. The thinking world finally woke up and moved on from Microsoft’s soul-sapping dreck. That clueless Microsoft haven’t figured this out years ago (Zune, Kin, how many total face-plants do they need?) is illustrative of the depths of their delusions.

As with Zune, Kin, and Surface, Microsoft is unnecessary in today’s world. Their rapidly retiring/expiring IT Doofus firewall is the only thing keeping them around today.MacDailyNews, September 24, 2013

People don’t want their iPads to be like notebooks. That’s why there are MacBook Airs and Pros. Neither do people want fake iPads with ill-considered twists, superfluous ports, and a silly kickstand, they want real iPads and the massive, vibrant ecosystem that goes with them.MacDailyNews, June 20, 2012

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “pridon328” and “Tom E” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Microsoft pays $400 million for product placement, then NFL announcer calls Surface tablet ‘iPad-like’ on air – September 8, 2014


      1. If Microsoft kills the Surface, the NFL would just go back to using iPads. They already own them and can buy them at many retail stores…no crawling necessary. Although also likely is that Samsung would jump in and purchase the promotional rights.

    1. Scared of what, exactly?
      The only place you’re ever likely to see a Surface device in use is on the TV where MS have paid to have some poor actor or NFL coach use one.
      I’m not sure that I’ve seen one in use in the wild, ever.

      1. I watched one of those panel shows in the NFL last Sunday, the commentators had their Surfaces all propped up in front of them but I noticed that they were reading from sheets of paper that were clumsily (not quite) hidden behind them on the desk. not a very good testimonial for the surface

    2. Hey Christian, if you actually believe that Microsoft is committed to the Surface after it lost 1.2 billion dollars and irrecoverably bombed on the market, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

      They’re simply trying to unclog their warehouses from as much Surface inventory as possible before they cut it loose, so they’re saying “Oh, uh, yeah sure, we’re totally behind Surface all the way!” and hoping enough suckers buy it. Both figuratively and literally.

      Bet on it.

    3. not scared…I truly welcome the competition…raises the bar for everyone…problem is they don’t hang around long enough to be relevant. (see ZUNE). still makes me chuckle when they fail despite a ridiculous advertizing budget and product placement blitz…the only thing that has gotten any traction is the xbox (which still loses money) and the only reason it caught on at all is because MS bought the bungie for Halo…

    4. Scared? Of what, Surface’s kickstand? Maybe that its sharp edges will cut me if I get too close when Microsoft is throwing them out . . . .

      Competition is great, but Surface never competed. Surface was Pee Wee football up against Apple’s NFL iPad.

    5. My thought is that Digitimes is right but about the wrong product. Microsoft will probably cancel the Surface RT. Or have they done so already an nobody noticed?

      1. I agree that the RT is probably the one to go, BUT the RT done right may have changed Microsoft’s current situation. Remember, Microsoft revised its phone operating system. bought Nokia and created the original Surface RT in order to get into the mobile market. The the main problem with the Surface Pro is that it’s actually a pretty good product and never should’ve seen the light of day.

        Microsoft wanted into the mobile market. Their mistake was having a phone OS and a tablet OS that were incompatible. Apple and Google were creating a huge mobile market because their phones and tablets ran the same operating systems and applications. If Microsoft just bought Nokia and came out with a tablet that ran the same OS and apps they might have had a chance. Unfortunately they got distracted by the user interface and ignored compatibility, hence the Surface Pro and Windows 8. Windows 8 is okay on some laptops but mostly pointless on workstations. That and a few interface foibles made it inappropriate for enterprise use.

        Remember, Microsoft just wanted to get into the mobile space. A phone and tablet would have done that. The Pro is a tablet / laptop hybrid which was never the point of the exercise.

        All because Microsoft valued the interface over compatibility. If there was no Surface Pro to bring a touchscreen interface to Windows, IT departments might now be installing Windows 8 everywhere instead of Windows 7, Microsoft might have a presence in the mobile market and Steve Ballmer might still be CEO.

  1. But…if the Surface Pro goes away…how is anyone going to get any real work done? More importantly, is Microsoft finally going the way of IBM, into enterprise services, giving up on trying to be Apple? I hope so, for then they’d sell off Xbox. Apple could pick it up for a song…

    1. After it leaves the road and “Zunes off the cliff”, MS is going to HAVE TO embrace Apple as the hardware company of the productive class of citizens.

      That means raising the stature of the MS Mac division and all of its products. If MS is serious about software, they have to support the largest CPU seller in the world.

    2. There is absolutely zero reason for Apple to buy Xbox. the hardware is crap, off the shelf stuff mostly without proper cooling systems.

      All Apple has to do is release its own box running iOS and go to gaming companies with a unique way to download games from the Game Store, play online via iCloud/GameCenter, and generally make it attractive for game developers to move console games to iOS. No reason to spend money on Xbox (not like Microsoft would sell it to Apple anyway).

    3. The thing is, only the network administrators are working and working like hell to maintain all those windows boxes, which is to say, they were on a treadmill and not really getting any real work done anyway.

      Once Windows dies, it’s final last breath leaving corporate America like a sigh of relief, what will we do with those poor souls that used to act like they were saving us when all they were doing was prolonging our agony?

      It will take more then career training, we will need to somehow reintegrate them into society after somehow eliminating their brainwashing, a difficult task if at all possible

  2. I think Microsoft needs to focus on enterprise level products, and develop them to be compatible with all of the popular computing platforms. Microsoft’s server products are actually very solid. Although I loathe Exchange because of its unnecessary complexity and huge cost, it too is actually very solid if properly managed. Why must Microsoft try to be all things to all people? That’s where they’ve screwed up. Focus on a few core products, and make them great. I’ve worked in IT for almost 14 years, and I have watched Apple slowly penetrate into large businesses. Microsoft should embrace this instead of trying to compete with Apple.

    1. Exchange isn’t a real email server. It’s a word doc trojan distribution engine for corporations that don’t mind leaking sensitive client data to the Russian mafia

  3. @MDN – Microsoft employees are mostly honest hardworking and intelligent people. Sadly, they have to work within the limits of corporate culture and threats maintained by senior management.

    Blame the idiots on the top and those corporate watch dogs. Where having an idea gets one in the line for the next round of cut backs. Have an idea which is not around promoting Windows and or Office and you are on the list.

    They manage by committee but a committee of senior people who cannot see beyond Windows and Office. All their blah blah announcement continues to promote Windows and Office. Sadly the only solution is for MS to split into multiple organizations as was proposed some decade ago which we all know won’t happen and it maybe too late.

  4. I love how these companies start to fall apart when left to their own “devices” (pun intended). Once you legally take away Microsoft’s (and now Samsung’s) ability to copy Apple, these guys fall apart.

    I like Windows “10” so far, but I’ll never, ever, ever, ever be a Windows. I do think, however, it’s important to know Windows so I can charge for support. 😛

  5. The only way the Surface is seeing any success is where they typically have found success – centralized purchasing decisions. Since this type of purchase is now the vast minority when it comes to tablets, it doesn’t bode well for Microsoft.

    I would not be surprised if the Surface, in all its flavors, faces the same inevitable demise as the Zune.

  6. @christian Stating that the company will continue to support the product is much different than continuing to develop, market and produce devices.

    I’m curious to see what the official response will be but I’m sure there are a ton of Surface Pros sitting on shelves gathering dust.

    1. You mean to tell me that Microsoft does not bury their dead?

      There has to be a nearby landfill to put the poor, mournful Surface Pros where they belonged, long before they were put in their Microsoft stores at exorbitant prices.

  7. This thing is a symbol of Microsoft’s future. It’s has been seeded into a multi-billion dollar, multi-year NFL contract.

    As much of a bomb as this thing is, or turns out to be, there is NO CHANCE of them abandoning it now. Look at how long they clung to Vista. Or how they cling to Windows Phone. This “report” is delusional.

    1. Vista was different. Windows was and is their core product. They absolutely had to back it until they could fix most of the problems and replace it with the infinitely better Windows 7 (hey, it’s not OSX, but credit where credit’s due, it’s not bad).

      Surface meanwhile is a bit of an offshoot, like Zune was. They could kill it and retreat back into their enterprise heartland. The question is, why would anyone trust them with any future offshoot products with this track record?

      1. But the Surface is the future of their core product. It’s the hardware manifestation of Windows 8. It’s the Microsoft version of Steve Jobs’s “car” (vs. the PC “truck”). I’d argue it’s every bit as important as Windows OS because it’s MS’s version of what the carrier of that OS looks like.

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