Panos Panay, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of devices, has vehemently denied that the company is planning to stop selling Surface devices in 2019.
The very fact that a company has to deny rumors that it is killing off its flagship devices is unusual, but talk of Microsoft abandoning its Surface line of products was sparked last week when Steve Brazier, chief executive of analyst company Canalys, suggested that the “the Surface performance is choppy… overall they are not making money. It doesn’t make sense for them to be in this business.”
Fuel was further added to the fire when Gianfranco Lanci, corporate president and COO at Lenovo, also suggested Microsoft would be better off dropping its Surface products, saying “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. And frankly speaking, it is difficult to see why they should keep losing money.”
However, Panay, speaking at an event, stated that this was “so far from the truth,” and that it was simply a “tabloid rumor of the week”.
Is Surface safe?
Of course, it’s likely that Microsoft would dismiss talk of it dropping its Surface products regardless of whether or not it actually was going to do that. It’s widely believed that Microsoft will announce a new LTE-enabled Surface Pro tablet later this month, and any talk of Microsoft dropping Surface products could hamper sales, as consumers won’t want to pay money for a product that may cease to be supported in the near future.
Sales of previous Surface products, such as the Surface Laptop and new Surface Pro, haven’t been brilliant, and there was another blow earlier this year when a report suggested that Microsoft Surface devices come last in reliability.
However, Microsoft has long argued that sales do not matter. Panay pointed to the $900 million write off Microsoft made in 2013 due to poor sales of the Surface RT tablet, which didn’t stop Microsoft producing Surface devices. “There was no loss of confidence. There was a real belief in how we can change the world.”
We genuinely like many of Microsoft’s Surface devices – the Surface Pro currently sits at the top of our best Windows tablet list – so we’d be sorry to see them disappear. Panay’s comments have helped alleviate our fears somewhat, but with the death of Windows Phone still fresh on our minds, all this talk could still be a bad omen.