Microsoft to focus on Surface ‘hits’ as lineup gets trimmed

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Despite the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop rumored to be missing from Microsoft’s September 21, 2023, hardware event, a new report from Business Insider suggests the company is trimming its device lineup to put more focus on products such as those and less on “experimental” ones.

According to Business Insider, Microsoft has scrapped plans to ship a sequel to its education focused Surface Laptop SE, plans for a smaller 11-inch Surface Pro, the ill-fated Surface Duo brand, and its recently “refreshed” All-in-One Surface Studio.

Our friends over at Windows Central all but confirm the Business Insider report with journalist Zac Bowden saying his own sources have also mentioned the above list of products being “placed on the backburner.”

Going forward, the Surface team will focus on its more traditional and arguably best-selling devices such as the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, Surface Laptop Go, Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Hub, and Surface Go.

Unfortunately, that means category expanding items such as the Surface Headphones or Surface Buds will end with the Surface Headphones 2 and the single iteration of the Buds.

It’s unclear if the new sleeker product focus mandate is forever standing or if Microsoft is simply taking a little break from the more experimental product development the Surface lineup has become synonyms with.

What is becoming clearer however, is that the pivot to consolidate product development did not sit well with former SVP of Devices and Services at Microsoft, Panos Panay.

Amid a year of devastating layoffs and cost cutting measures from Microsoft it seems the Surface team was not immune to the changes and those changes may have been the tipping point for Panay who is making a lateral move to fellow Seattle-based competitor Amazon to head up its hardware and AI division.

While it’s fun to see Microsoft experiment with products and services, the company also has investors who routinely demand the company play to its strengths and in a economy where tech hardware sells are cooling in many product categories, it’s the smart play to follow the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix” strategy to the Surface line.