Anyone hoping for a Surface Pro 4 announcement at this week’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is going to be disappointed, and it’s still not clear when or even if the firm plans to ship such a device. But there was some Surface news announced today, and while it’s not what you were looking for, it is indeed good news for fans of the product line.
Very good news.
“Microsoft will increase the number of partners that can sell Surface from a couple hundred to a few thousand partners globally in the coming months,” a Microsoft representative told me. “This expansion will ensure that the company can meet customers’ growing demand for the Surface family of products through its partners and create additional mobility opportunities for the channel.”
A related blog post expands on this news, adding that Microsoft is “seeing great interest and momentum with Surface 3 and Surface Hub,” and that “Windows 10 will only increase this momentum.”
Notice anything there?
After a week in which our fears about Microsoft’s “tough choices” must mean Windows Phone were proven to be quite true, with Microsoft surrendering the smart phone market to Android and iOS and scaling back its Windows phone strategy dramatically, the firm has something quite a bit different to say about Surface.
Comparing Microsoft’s language in both instances—its plans for Windows phones and its plans for Surface—and you see something starkly different. Windows Phone is ramping down as Microsoft looks forward to the next mobile innovation. Surface, however, has momentum and opportunities. It will expand.
Even Surface Hub, the innovative new all-in-one PC aimed at groups, not individuals, is off to a better than expected start. Microsoft says that demand is such that it will now increase manufacturing capacity in order to make more units available for launch. (Though that launch is now delayed past September 1, the originally announced date.)
“We couldn’t be more excited about our Surface roadmap and opportunity to help people and businesses be more productive,” Microsoft’s Brian Hall says. And I just can’t imagine anyone from Microsoft saying the same thing about Windows phones or Lumia with a straight face.