Why is Microsoft turning its Surface business into the next Nokia?

If Microsoft wants to make PC hardware, it needs to do so properly and commit to the same kinds of updates as other PC OEMs.

Almost every other PC OEM has refreshed its systems for Kaby Lake. Almost every other PC OEM has adopted, at least for machines in the premium space that Surface occupies, USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3. Surface Pro – a machine which, in its early generations, arguably defined that particular style of two-in-one systems – is no longer unique. HP, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, and others all have solid two-in-one offerings. These machines are modeled after the Surface Pro concept, but they now embody that concept better than Microsoft’s own system. The Surface has been out-Surfaced.

The failure to do anything with Surface for so long makes us wonder just what Microsoft is up to. If the company is serious about its hardware ambitions – and officially, at least, it still says that its intent is to produce market-leading systems under the Surface brand – then it has to take its hardware seriously. That means refreshing it to keep pace with the competition.

He’s exactly right. I love my surface Pro 4 – no way I’m ever going back to cumbersome laptops with fixed, stand-in-the-way keyboards – but it definitely leaves a few things to be desired hardware-wise. Although not a huge problem for me since I don’t use it, the pen tracking is pretty terrible, the display has some light bleeding issues here and there, the processor is nice but definitely a generation behind, and battery life is decent, but not exceptional. Except for the pen, these are all things that could be addressed by refreshing the device with Intel’s latest.

So, Microsoft – what will it be?


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