Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made the pitch this morning that his company’s Surface project is here to stay, hoping to convince potential business customers that investing in the tablet-hybrids won’t leave them in the lurch.
Out this morning from Microsoft’s chief is a quote calling the Surface Pro 3 an “enterprise-class device,” saying that the company is “putting its full and sustained support behind the ongoing Surface program.”
As part of that announcement, the company promised that peripherals that shipped to support the Surface Pro 3 will work for the next Pro device. When Microsoft moved from the Surface Pro 2 tablet design, to the Surface Pro 3, old peripherals became too small, in many cases — the Surface Pro 3 has a much larger screen.
So, Microsoft has made a public pact that the Surface project is here to stay, and that the Pro line has more or less gelled in its form factor. It’s a simple pitch to the enterprise: Your investment in the line of Surface products is a safe one, as is your investment in current hardware itself.
That Surface is not being cancelled is roughly as surprising as being tired in the morning. As TechCrunch wrote recently, Microsoft is more than willing to pour capital into a project if it can see future profitability, and the effort has strategic importance. What’s the point of being a rich incumbent, naturally, if you can’t weaponize your cash advantage?
Microsoft went on to indicate that the Surface Pro 3 will be upgradable to Windows 10. That operating system is widely expected to be made free to Windows 8.1 users. For more on Windows 10, head here.
Finally, Microsoft announced a number of Surface Pro 3 bundles today, which are in effect discounts of the Device’s Docking Station. The Pro 3, Type Cover, and Docking Station, can now be purchased as a group for between a $100 and $150 discount. As it would be very silly to buy a Pro 3 and not a Type Cover, the discount can therefore be mentally constrained to the Docking Station.
Microsoft would not have had to make such pronouncements if it hadn’t received pushback from potential corporate customers, asking if Surface is sticking around. It is. How long is your call, but I think that there are a few more generations, at least, in the tank.
None of the above is to say that Surface isn’t in flux. There might not be another ARM-based Surface device. That means that Surface standard will only be carried by the Intel-based Pro line of devices. Having only one SKU line means Microsoft has even less margin for error.