Thinking About the Future of Surface Hub

Posted on July 12, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 34 Comments

Thinking About the Future of Surface Hub

As you may have heard, Microsoft is closing its Surface Hub manufacturing plant and laying off 124 employees as a result. Does this mean that Surface Hub is “dead”?

Microsoft says no. In a statement to Mary Jo Foley, the software giant that it was simply consolidating Surface Hub development and production.

“We are consolidating our Surface manufacturing,” the statement explains. “This will result in the closure of the Wilsonville, OR office and factory. We remain committed to the Surface Hub product line and will move forward with Surface Hub development in Redmond.”

As Ms. Foley notes, the facility that Microsoft is closing was part of its 2012 acquisition of Perceptive Pixel (PPI), which led to the creation of the first Surface table computer and, later, Surface Hub.

So the layoffs appear to mostly involve manufacturing. I’d imagine that future Surface Hub manufacturing can occur through a third party manufacturer. Like virtually every other electronics product on earth.

As for the future, I’ve not heard anything directly about a new Surface Hub. But Foley notes rumors that a Surface Hub 2 release could be imminent.

I don’t need to know anything about future devices to know that this development does not signal the end of Surface Hub. In the context of most Surface devices, Surface Hub has been quite successful, both in real-world terms—e.g. sales—and in inspiring competitive devices, such as the Google Jamboard.

So with that in mind, I’ll just say this: Yes, I do expect future Surface Hub devices. And I expect them to include (much) lower cost options than the current designs, which are priced like automobiles.

Long story short, this isn’t quite “nothing to see here.” But I don’t think this is a disaster, either.

 

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