Microsoft silent on its reasons for discontinuing original Surface Pro

Microsoft is hyping up the newly announced Surface Pro 2 tablet as a huge improvement over the original Surface Pro, with the company claiming it has up to 75 percent better battery life and 20 percent better performance than the original. However, the first Surface Pro was only launched in mid-February, just over seven months ago.

That tablet, which we also reviewed in February, had a third generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a choice of either 64GB or 128GB for storage and a 1920x1080 10.6 inch screen. When it launched, Microsoft at first could not meet the demand for the tablet, especially the 128 GB version.

Even with the high initial demand for the first Surface Pro, Microsoft has decided to stop selling the tablet, even though it continues to sell the almost year old Surface RT for a lower price. We asked Microsoft to give us a reason why they have suddenly discontinued the sale of the original Surface Pro, even at a lower price, and received this statement from a Microsoft spokesperson:

When Surface Pro 2 becomes available, Surface Pro will no longer be available for purchase from Microsoft or its retail partners. Our goal is to help as many customers as possible experience all the benefits Surface has to offer. Starting at $349 for Surface RT 32GB, it’s extremely easy to join the Surface family.

Yes, that statement does not really offer a specific reason why the Surface Pro is no longer being sold. We were told that's the only comment that Microsoft will give officially on this subject.

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Just like any faddish toy, once the bloom is over, poof, gone, finis! Think back to the hula-hoop, Mr. Potato Head, cabbage patch dolls, and Furbie...the list is almost endless.

they should hold fire sales w/ rt like hp did w/ the web os touchpads, that way they'd deff clear out the old stock and get them in the hands of people therefore helping build an ecosystem for the successor models...

I think it's a good decision, I wouldn't buy the original surface pro when I can get the new one for 100.00 more and gain much more battery life.

I totally agree about the Surface 2 and RT skus.

What's with this John guy, everything he writes about MS has a slight amount of stank to it. Even when it's as pointless as complaining about MS discontinuing a product.

Do they really need to give a reason?

There's no point in selling the original Pro. Ivy Bridge really limited its usefulness. You'll probably find some clearance sales, maybe from their official eBay liquidation seller like they sold off a bunch of RTs a month ago.

John, are they the first company that discontinues an old model? the PC landscape changes quickly and you can't seriously expect a big scoop story about this. it is as simple as it sounds:

-surface pro 1 serves no purpose

I agreed with what you said except the last line. It does serve a big purpose. What you should have wrote was:
Surface Pro sold well, and they want to keep that line up to date. Whereas Surface is meant for the lower cost market so 1st or 2nd gen doesn't matter, it just depends on cost based on specs.

But yes, John at his finest again...

This doesn't surprise me. It did well and hence they can replace it with Surface Pro 2 which will sell well like the predecessor. (Windows will always sell well since there is a demand. They really don't need to push it that much)

RT is where the challenge lies hence they don't mind selling it for cheap to lure the customers to pick it who would normally pick iPad or Android.

(Since MS did nothing to come up with a product which could compete with iPad or Android, they used Windows)

Those who are convinced about RT will pick Surface 2 anyway or upgrade to it from RT. At this moment, they need more people to adopt RT or buy.

Yesterday, someone made an interesting argument. The only reason they are selling Windows RT products (Surface 1 and 2) is to prevent more people from picking Android or iPad which are powered by ARM processors.

They didn't kill Surface (RT) 1 because they have a HUGE inventory and they want to sell them.. even at a discounted price. Probably, the inventory of Surface Pro 1 was almost depleted and they didn't want to produce new, already outdated models.

I would guess they wanted to single out the pro experience going forward with the longer battery life and added performance of the 2nd generation.

I think it's just been replaced - so what?

It no longer has a place as a viable SKU in their product line up. I can't see any controversy here aside from it's Microsoft and not Apple killing off an old product.

They stop selling Surface Pro now..so that there will be some more demand for Surface Pro 2... or rather, they force people go deal hunting on eBay for a Surface Pro + TypeCover bundle deal.

I didn't know we were telling jokes in this story. OK, I'll go next. Perhaps they only made 500 of that expensive hardware and they found 500 suckers.

Surface Pro was actually selling quite well. If you watched the announcement they said it's the #1 selling product in it's category. Surface RT unfortunately didn't sell well, but it's still an excellent product (despite all the people who didn't use it spreading negative crap).

Spicoli said,
It's not expensive hardware. Thanks for fanboying though.

My mistake. I meant overpriced. And you are welcome.

DarkNet said,
7 Months??? The why is the RT still around?

Does it matter? How many people do you think are going to buy the Pro 1 when it's been replaced with a better model?

Astra.Xtreme said,

Probably because they have millions of them sitting in a warehouse collecting dust.

This^ People still buy iPad 2's! They would sell them if people wanted them.

Astra.Xtreme said,
Probably because they have millions of them sitting in a warehouse collecting dust.

Exactly. The Surface RT massively underperformed expectations and Microsoft still hasn't been able to shift them despite a near $1bn write off on the stock. Microsoft responded to this by slashing the production volume of the Surface Pro, which ironically hurt sales when it proved to be slightly more popular than the RT.

As soon as Microsoft can shift the existing inventory of Surface RT units the line will be discontinued. Microsoft isn't continuing to sell the original RT by choice.

I doubt it, someone stole mine so I had to get a new one...with this rampant grand theft tablet, I'm fairly certain the Surface RT is quite a steal at this point! =p

Interesting. As the Surface RT (original) is sticking around at a reduced price point.

There must be some issues with reliability or returns or something to justify this for what is considered by many the better selling of the two options.

LogicalApex said,
Interesting. As the Surface RT (original) is sticking around at a reduced price point.

There must be some issues with reliability or returns or something to justify this for what is considered by many the better selling of the two options.

Maybe it just costs more to make? Older parts after a while are harder to find and actually cost more. Intel has it's new i5s out and that's what they'll give you a deal on because it's pushing volumes while the older ones aren't. It's the problem MS had with the original Xbox that used stock PC parts, they couldn't cut the price on the system like they wanted because of those.

I'm also sure they've sold through most of the Pros already compared to the RTs so they can cut them and go right to Pro 2 which is a large improvement, specially with battery life.

SAA - I actually think the first RT has much more usable life with 8.1 than the original Pro and it's weight and abysmal battery life do. They can't sell it dirt cheap, so it's best to discontinue IMO.

LogicalApex said,
Interesting. As the Surface RT (original) is sticking around at a reduced price point.

There must be some issues with reliability or returns or something to justify this for what is considered by many the better selling of the two options.


I'd argue the original Surface RT isn't competition for anything (not even its successor), whereas the Surface Pro and Pro 2 muddy their waters a bit.

Honestly, they'd probably do well to take the remain Pros and give or sell them to employees, major partners, etc. Perfectly usable.

LogicalApex said,
Interesting. As the Surface RT (original) is sticking around at a reduced price point.

There must be some issues with reliability or returns or something to justify this for what is considered by many the better selling of the two options.

I would expect that they are trying to establish a tiered system analogous to Apple's approach: two or three generations of the consumer device, and one generation of the more expensive "pro" models.

Coming at it from a different angle, I do not believe that Intel likes to allow manufacturers access to their defunct chips for extended periods of time because it wastes their manufacturing lines and it probably prevents Intel from upgrading those lines for the next processor (so they can flip/flop lines between the tick/tock processor releases).

Given that, I don't see much point in continuing to sell the original Surface RT, but that is reflective of the poor performance of the Surface RT; I could understand having a Surface 2 below a Surface 3, but the Surface RT (or just "Surface") was admittedly a flop because they only figured out how to market it at the very end of its life (tablet for anyone that does office processing, such as students or average office workers). Hopefully they are simply selling out of the current models rather than continuing to produce new ones (their $900M writedown suggests that they have a lot of inventory...).

The real thing that I am disappointed about is that they are waiting a few months to push out the LTE models ("early 2014"). At least they have acknowledged their existence, but people buy this kind of stuff for Christmas and they're missing the boat.

My biggest surprise is that they have re-upped the price of the touch cover with the Touch Cover 2. Granted, it looks far more impressive than the original turned out to be, but over $100 for an accessory that practically makes the device what it is seems a bit much. The Touch Cover should a minimal margin for Microsoft with the Type Cover perhaps adding a bit more, and the Power Cover and basically be the real margin winner.

Cyborg_X said,
I think they should kill the 1st RT as well.

Once they can sell enough then they can, I think they made just enough Surface Pros that they're able to stop when the Pro 2s go to retail.

GP007 said,

Once they can sell enough then they can, I think they made just enough Surface Pros that they're able to stop when the Pro 2s go to retail.

Seems legit.

I actually think the first RT has much more usable life with 8.1 than the original Pro and it's weight and abysmal battery life do. They can't sell it dirt cheap, so it's best to discontinue IMO.

umm, because no one was buying it???

What was it you accused OEM's of Microsoft? Not being innovative, not producing hardware that took advantage on Windows 8?

Karma's a bitch eh? seems you did even worse than the OEM's you were slagging off at!