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There were two big surprises from Microsoft this week: the unveiling of the Surface Pro 3, and complete silence regarding the Surface Mini. A post on Neowin offers up some more clues about the current status of the small, ARM processor powered tablet, and whether or not we’ll ever actually see the thing released.

According to the post, somewhere between 15,000 to 20,000 Surface Mini tablets have been manufactured, likely as part of “a first-batch run to make sure the assembly procedures are scoped and specced properly.” Moreover, Microsoft really did intend to reveal the Surface Mini at its Surface Pro 3 unveiling earlier this week, but company CEO Satya Nadella and senior VP Stephen Elop decided to pull the plug on the launch with as little time as two days to go before the event.

As we’ve learned before, the Surface Mini is on hold because it isn’t unique enough to earn much in the way of sales. But the Neowin post adds another theory to the mix: Microsoft is going to hold the tablet back until the company releases the touch-optimized version of Office, codenamed “Gemini.”

Proof appeared this week about work being done on Gemini as well, and it’s said that it’ll be released this fall. Because the Surface Mini would be too small to effectively run any existing version of Office, the thinking goes, Microsoft’s executives are waiting until it’s a more effective vessel for the company’s latest efforts with its productivity suite.

Microsoft’s decision to focus on the Surface Pro 3 was a smart move – by keeping the Mini out of the spotlight, the tech press is mainly focused on the Pro 3 and its bold claims of being able to not only replace a person’s laptop, but also to outshine Apple’s Macbook Air. The Surface Mini would have confused the issue and fragmented its own target market. As we’ve discussed before, Microsoft has been shooting itself in the foot by releasing full Windows 8 machines alongside Windows RT machines, with little to no differentiation in terms of branding.

Now that Satya Nadella’s in the top spot, he seems to be using his position to ensure that Microsoft’s course is steady and focused. Rather than Steve Ballmer’s strategy of throwing every idea out on the market to see what succeeds and what fails, Nadella seems to be considering the power of focusing on one big announcement at a time.

[Source: Neowin]

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