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Surface 3 Stocks Dwindling As Microsoft Plans System's Demise (arstechnica.com) 59

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's Surface 3 may be coming to an end. Brad Sams at Thurrott.com reports that many versions of the Surface 3 are listed as being out of stock in Microsoft's online store, with no expected availability. He notes that the only version in stock online is the version with 2GB RAM/64GB storage/LTE. There's more availability in-store, but stock appears to be limited overall. What this generally means is that manufacturing is slowing down or going to stop entirely. In a statement, Microsoft said: "Since launching Surface 3 over a year ago, we have seen strong demand and satisfaction amongst our customers. Inventory is now limited and by the end of December 2016, we will no longer manufacture Surface 3 devices." It's possible a Surface 3 successor is right around the corner, although Ars Technica notes "there hasn't even been the merest hint of a rumor about such a device." The Surface 3 is being powered by a Cherry Trail Atom processor, which hasn't seen a major upgrade or replacement since they were released in the first quarter of 2015. "Without new processors, there's little reason to update the Surface 3 line," writes Ars. Microsoft could equip the Surface 3 successor with a Core M processor, but the implications of that decision would likely cause the device's price to shoot up or cause the device's quality to significantly decrease. Microsoft may simply abandon the segment entirely and focus strictly on the Surface Pro line.
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Surface 3 Stocks Dwindling As Microsoft Plans System's Demise

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  • Damn! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why did I put my entire 401k into Surface 3 Stocks?

  • by nateman1352 ( 971364 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @06:23PM (#52385371)

    Without new processors, there's little reason to update the Surface 3 line

    I guess whoever wrote this article didn't do very much research. Intel is expected to release Apollo Lake (Cherry Trail's successor) in the 2nd half of 2016.

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @06:59PM (#52385587) Homepage

      Intel is expected to release Apollo Lake (Cherry Trail's successor) in the 2nd half of 2016.

      But if Microsoft was planning to use that chip for a new Surface, it wouldn't EOL the current version now, because it won't be able to get new product into the market until the first half of next year. Companies don't just put brands into temporary retirement for 6-8 months while they wait for their downstream supply chains to catch up.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Except that intel's current processor is a joke compared to the last version, and the next is to not be worth a damn compared to it either.

      Sorry but All of intel's offerings over the past 3 years have been a waste of time. There is zero incentive to upgrade a 3rd gen processor machine to anything with a 6th gen or beyond due to the increases being so small that spending $800+ for it is a waste of money.

      • This makes me wonder why MS didn't look into AMD for some offerings if the atom is on the way out. Not sure if AMD has an offering in that TDP range, but at least they could keep the cost low.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Surface 3 used an Intel Atom chip - a product line that was recently cut for being unprofitable. And by unprofitable I mean a massive money-loser. There isn't a new processor to put in the Surface 3 while still costing as much as a Surface 3. Intel isn't selling Microsoft below-cost chips anymore, so no Surface 4.

      Er, well, there are other options... but Windows on ARM bombed so horribly due to Microsoft's insistence that it not run Win32 software, which is the entire draw of a Surface device over far better

      • That's incorrect, the Atom line for what I'll call IBM PC compatibles in short is still alive and well.

        What's definitively canned is Atoms lower end than than, for Android smartphones and non-existing tablet products, with a smartphone GPU (PowerVR) and a lack of IBM PC legacy. I'm sure it could have run Windows 10 Phone (no win32) or Windows RT (dead) i.e. an x86 version of the ARM version of Windows, but that'd be confusing fast.

        There still are Atoms coming, with a real desktop GPU, slow and toned down in

    • Intel is expected to release Apollo Lake (Cherry Trail's successor) in the 2nd half of 2016.

      Will that one have the secret extra processor and backdoor that can't be audited too?

    • I guess whoever wrote this article didn't do very much research

      They are paid to drain the inventory of existing Surface 3's and create an artificial demand for a product that probably will simply be refreshed shortly.

  • " PRO 3 on Set"
  • by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @06:29PM (#52385419) Journal
    Aren't I supposed to be able to scoop one of these up at bargain basement prices and install Linux now. That's how this is supposed to work. Someone inform Microsoft.
    • It seems to be selling relatively well, actually. I know a few people who got one instead of a laptop, and are happy with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2016 @06:49PM (#52385539)

    It seems like anything outside of their stranglehold through lock-in (Windows, Office) fails. Honestly, I don't mean this as a troll. But everything from Zune to the Windows phone to this tablet to Bing turns into a flop, or sensationally mediocre. With the possible exception of the Xbox but isn't that because they refuse to stop throwing money at it? (pleading ignorance on that one)

    Putting Apple fanboism aside, how is it that Microsoft can fail so consistently with so many products yet Apple seems to fail with so few?

    Then they have the hutzpah to pull the Windows 10 telemetry and forced upgrades stuff, both of which should have been handled with some simple, competent PR. Is it so fractured internally that no one person sees these problems as obvious and says "hey, wait a second, we need to think this through"?

    And marketing/image...from sweaty Ballmer to the Linux flip-flop to angry cheerleaders ads to the Surface getting called an iPad on national tv, on and on...what are the odds of being a laughing stock consistently for so many years, yet no one takes control and puts a stop to it?

    I don't get it, please enlighten.

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @07:14PM (#52385659) Homepage

      I'm perfectly happy with my Surface Pro 3 and the Surface Pro 4 seems like a worthy successor, albeit not enough of an upgrade to be worth the price tag for current Surface Pro 3 owners.

      The only area where the Surface line has consistently failed is on the low end of the market. When Microsoft cheaps out with low specs (and the resulting poor performance), customers don't bite. There's too much cheap PC hardware to choose from already. If Best Buy is already awash with pieces of shit from Dell, HP, and Toshiba, why would I pay more for a piece of shit from Microsoft?

      For the Surface 3, Microsoft was clearly hoping it could succeed on the low end with full Windows 10 instead of the disastrously bad idea that was Windows RT. It looks like it may have proven itself wrong.

      Putting Apple fanboism aside, how is it that Microsoft can fail so consistently with so many products yet Apple seems to fail with so few?

      Surely you're only talking about hardware products. In which case Microsoft has produced far fewer products than Apple has, while Apple's history is not without its share of failures. Before the Powerbook G3, Apple laptops were often pretty crappy. The entire Performa line sucked. Some of Apple's tower cases were nearly impossible to open without cutting your hands. The 25th Anniversary Mac was a stupid idea. Shit, Apple has had to suck up its share of failures going all the way back to the Apple ///. Microsoft put out its first PC in 2012 and you're unwilling to grant it a failure or two here and there?

      And if you wanna talk software products, let's talk about the billions and billions that Microsoft makes from software every year. Meanwhile, Apple has managed to sabotage what few software markets it had. Let's ignore Claris, just to be charitable. Let's forget all the projects that never really made it to market, like Copeland. Instead, go ask a former Final Cut user how he's liking Adobe Premiere. I'll wait.

      • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @07:28PM (#52385733) Journal

        No, where it's failed is in actually getting enough people to buy it to make the development, manufacturing and marketing worth the effort. You can try to spin this any way you like, but the Surface line is a complete failure, right up there with Windows Phone.

        These conversations about Surface remind me a lot of the kind of fanboism that surrounds Blackberry. The same wishful thinking, the same insistence that someone's personal (and anecdotal) successes with the device must somehow represent some counter to the fact that the devices themselves are just not selling.

        • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

          Nice try [fool.com].

        • No, where it's failed is in actually getting enough people to buy it to make the development, manufacturing and marketing worth the effort. You can try to spin this any way you like, but the Surface line is a complete failure

          Your wrongness could be solved with a quick google search. The very first Surface and the Surface 2 RT were failures. Every other Surface has made money.

          he devices themselves are just not selling.

          Let's rearrange those words: "the devices themselves are not just selling" and add a few more "they are selling well and exceeded all market expectations for the slate form factor in 2015".

          Your arguments are 5 years old. Maybe you should google a bit more.

        • Really?
          I had a surface pro 3 for work, and I have to say that it was actually really great.
          I honestly never looked into their sales, so I really have no idea if the line was successful or not. I do know a few people who bought them though.

          I was never able to understand the surface concept though. Not the pro, but the normal surface with an atom processor. What was the point?
          Wasnt it Windows, but not real Windows?
          Literally the ONLY reason to have Windows is to run your Windows applications. If you cannot do

        • Where the hell do you get your information from. Whereever it is you need to find a new source. Since the Surface 2 revisions in late 2013 growth in surface devices has literally exploded they are now well in excess of a billion dollars a quarter business with year over year growth in excess of 20%.
      • ... and the Surface Pro 4 seems like a worthy successor...

        Unfortunately, it's not - or at least you have a 50% chance of getting a completely bad one apparently due to the Intel Skylake processor problems. Sleep mode is completely jacked. The UEFI bios has been under constant updates to try and fix the processor problem but it just results in more frustration - especially if you use the docking station. I'm frustrated every day at work with mine. I could go on an on but just read the Amazon reviews because they're pretty accurate. The 3 was a much better unit

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Every Apple example you listed is over 20 year old and before the NeXT purchase/Steve Jobs' return.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

        Don't forget the modern flops, Apple laptops with bumpgate GPUs anyone? or how about Apple maps guiding people onto active airfields and into lakes? And unless they can find some killer app for it the Apple watch looks like it'll be going into the fail column as well.

        They had failures with and without jobs, but Jobs was such a salesman frankly he could spin a failure into a triumph, the man really was a genius when it came to marketing.

    • That's an interesting thing to think about. There is probably a lesson or two to be learned. I wonder if Apple is more prone to kill off projects BEFORE they launch publicly, if focus groups and such don't go well.

      Google has another approach, somewhat. They throw stuff out there, often with the "Beta" marking in earlier years, then publicly acknowledge it didn't well, so they kill of the whole idea. Contrast with Microsoft's statement "Since launching Surface 3 over a year ago, we have seen strong demand a

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're looking at Microsoft from a consumer's point of view and not from a business perspective. Can they let Google have a monopoly on internet indexing? Can they completely dismiss the mobile market and let Apple and Google take all of it? Microsoft has literally tons of spare cash it can throw after anything it wants. They come up with awesome tech, patent it, then never create consumer products for it. Their follow-through is poor while Apple has a much tighter focus. Microsoft has far, far more p

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lucm ( 889690 )

      We hear that over and over, but Microsoft is actually making money with Xbox. And Minecraft. And Skype. They make money in the cloud business (unlike Amazon who pours money from their retail business to keep AWS afloat).

      They even made money with Yahoo, something few companies can brag about (including Yahoo).

      Microsoft has been profitable every single year since 1985. That's the bottom line. There will always be people to make clever comments about the Zune and Nokia, but taking a dive for a few quarters or

    • everything from Zune to the Windows phone to this tablet to Bing turns into a flop, or sensationally mediocre.

      that's because instead of focusing on making something that somebody would want to buy, they push marketing bullshit on people and that backfires. if it's actually a good product, you don't need to shove it in everyone's face at every turn because users who like it will tell other people about it. so when they pay the NFL to use their device and make a big deal about it by pointing it out all the time (nobody cares because it has nothing to do with the sport!), people are going to laugh when they call it

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bloodhawk ( 813939 )
      what do you mean fail? the surface line has been extremely successful which makes me think this is probably the precursor to a new model coming out. A lot of people have been hanging off buying a Surface 3 as we have been expecting a Surface 4 ever since the surface Pro 4 released.
    • It seems like anything outside of their stranglehold through lock-in (Windows, Office) fails.

      Fails? The Surface 3 sold quite well, but it was priced in the too premium for it's target market range. That price also allowed it to make a profit. The Pro 3 and the Pro 4 on the are roaring successes and the sales of the Pro 3 last year exceeded all expectations. The original Surface and the bet on Windows RT was a colossal disaster, one that they turned around quite well.

      And marketing/image...from sweaty Ballmer

      Who? Is he like someone who left Microsoft before the Surface 2 was even released, let alone the successor we're talking about here?

      Surface getting called an iPad on national tv,

      An

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