Thinking About the Future of Surface Hub

Posted on July 12, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 32 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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Comments (35)

35 responses to “Thinking About the Future of Surface Hub”

  1. dcdevito

    My company has one and it's amazing. But perhaps the best feature is wirelessly connecting to it as an extended display for a presentation. So fast and so reliable.

    We also use the whiteboard tools while we Skype and it's such an enjoyable experience.

  2. bluvg

    Would like to know what's happening with those 124 workers. There's usually some expertise and goodwill that's lost in these transitions. I always wonder if those costs are factored in.

  3. per.steinar

    Microsoft should make the software available for Enterprise, Microsoft 365 and other customers who licenses Windows 10 Enterprise and Skype for Business. At work we have a couple of large Samsung touch displays and it would be nice to be able to load the Surface Hub software onto a Windows 10 PC and connect it to the display.

  4. MikeGalos

    Odds are the Perceptive Pixel acquisition had a requirement that Microsoft keep the manufacturing facility open for some specific length of time and that has now expired.

    This really is 'nothing to see here'.

  5. will

    Interesting nugget about the Surface Hub: They do not patient the devices for security and proprietary reasons.

    Everything done in that hat plant was so hush hush. You could not get a tour, the building was very basic looking, and if you did go in it was only for scheduled time with a team to demo the Hub.

  6. Angusmatheson

    Devices like the Surface Hub - touch, voice based wall desplays are totally the future. Microsoft is totally ahead on this. I hope they stay in it to last to see it become mainstream. It would be a bummer to surrender this too to iOS and Android.

  7. robincapper

    Sharp are doing very good Surface Hub like hardware running Windows 10. Leave hardware to 3rd party is sensible in this case

  8. Waethorn

    We've heard these commitments before....

    I have a feeling that Terry Myerson might get shuffled around in the next couple of years. When that happens, you'll know that Microsoft's hardware division is dead.

  9. wolters

    My company would love one but was priced too high. I'll look forward to lower priced versions.

  10. straker135

    The side panels contain speakers and the cameras which detect you as you enter the room and, if set up correctly, log you in similarly to Windows Hello or Kinect. I have only seen one in operation once at a conference facility and was moderately impressed.

  11. Stooks

    This is just a typical move to slash costs by eliminating American jobs and moving them to cheaper locations, like China. Fantastic news I imagine for those 124 Americans.

  12. John Craig

    click bait. This is beneath you Paul

  13. Roger Ramjet

    This probably signals Microsoft is ready to accelerate production of the device into a more massive scale. To do so, they have no choice but to compete, otherwise they simply get undercut by copycats like jamboard and others. Most customers love the Hubs, Microsoft is way out ahead of competition on the product curve, it serves exactly the differentiating idea about Surface, etc, it's not even remotely likely that the product is in trouble.

  14. Tony Barrett

    Usually when a company closes something, but say they remain 'committed to' the product, that's usually a pretty bad sign. Hub was unique but very niche and incredibly expensive. It was too MS centric and didn't integrate well with other, more established and cheaper devices of a similar nature. This is probably part of Microsoft's new FY 'restructuring' (another bad business word!) - all the layoff's and now plant closures. Seems like MS are battening down the hatches ready for the full on climb into the cloud.

  15. zorb56

    Wow I never realized how ugly the left and right sides of the S-hubs are until that pic above.

  16. drbohner

    I'm, pretty-sure, I heard something similar - during the Nokia Phone acquisition.   Wondering Out Loud - a Surface Hub is one-heck of a big mobile phone.  How will I fit that in my pocket?

  17. mortarm

    >But I don’t think this is a disaster, either.

    Unless your one of the 124 who got laid off.

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