Last week, analysts questioned the shelf-life of Microsoft's Surface hardware line, positing that the Redmond-based tech giant will abandon its laptop and desktop pursuits in the next two years. And while the Windows maker pushed back against this gloomy forecast, its doubters aren't without reason.
According to The Register, the first shot came from Steve Brazier, the CEO of tech analysis firm Canalys, making the statement at his company's Channels Forum event in Venice. Brazier claimed that Microsoft will end the line in 2019, and stated that "The Surface performance is choppy; there are good quarters and bad quarters, overall they are not making money. It doesn’t make sense for them to be in this business."
In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson rebutted the claims, noting "Surface continues to drive category growth and redefine the way people create, learn and work." The company went on to hint at new hardware, stating "You’ll see us continue to innovate and create devices that offer users new and impactful experiences."
Brazier pushed his claim by focusing on the priorities of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who he said is a "software guy," and "a cloud guy" who let the Windows Phone fall into obscurity, and that the Surface hardware "will be the first target" when he has to cut costs. While Nadella doesn't list his past work experience on LinkedIn, his bio on Microsoft's website notes that he "previously ... led R&D for the Online Services Division."
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On stage with Brazier, Lenovo president and chief commercial officer (COO) Gianfranco Lanci agreed, and took it a step further. “It might be earlier,” Lanci claimed, “Microsoft is making a lot of money on cloud, making a lot of money on Windows and Office, but losing a lot of money on devices."
Dell COO Marius Haas agreed, saying Microsoft will likely adjust its priorities and “probably slow it down a bit," with its PC business.
While Microsoft's Surface business hasn't been great — it dipped by two percent in its previously reported quarter — the company's recent focus in releasing the Surface Laptop and Surface Studio suggests it believes in its own hardware skills enough to give consumers confidence for the short term.
Credit: Keith Agnello/LaptopMag