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With this year’s Surface Pro 3, it would seem that Microsoft has finally managed to crack the nut of blending a tablet and a PC in a successful package. It’s not a perfect device by any stretch, but it’s sleek as hell, has a great kickstand and type cover, and it performs better than its predecessors in just about every way, inside and out. As such, it’s no surprise to hear that Microsoft has officially confirmed that work’s already underway on the next iteration of the Surface Pro.

The confirmation, says Neowin, may have come as a result from rumors out of Digitimes, which claimed that “weak sales for its Surface Pro 3 tablet” have prompted Microsoft to mull canceling the entire product line. Seemingly in response, Microsoft’s blog published a new post today outlining the company’s commitment to making the Surface line of products work for enterprise and business customers. Within, Surface General Manager Brian Hall wrote that the company’s current line of Surface Pro 3 accessories “are designed with our product roadmap in mind and will be compatible with the next generation of the ‘Pro’ line of Surface.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also offered a statement of support for the Surface Pro line of products:

“We believe a strength of the Microsoft platform for enterprise is the rich ecosystem of hardware and applications developed by our partners, the community at large, and some of our own teams at Microsoft. In particular with Microsoft Surface Pro 3 we are now offering an enterprise-class device that can deliver great end user productivity. Microsoft is putting its full and sustained support behind the ongoing Surface program as one of a number of great hardware choices for businesses large and small.”

Now, as to whether or not Microsoft will continue to make non-pro versions of the Surface – that might be a bit stickier. I’ve long held the belief that the ARM-powered versions of the tablets, which run Windows RT and not the full version of the operating system, have been something of an albatross around the company’s neck. They, like Windows 8 itself, are too much neither one thing or another. They’re not powerful enough to compete with full PCs, nor are they consumer friendly enough to play on the same field as the iPad or the huge list of Android tablets.

The Surface Pro 3 shows how well Microsoft can do when it focuses on making a stylish and powerful machine that is truly portable and fun to use. I can only imagine that the Surface Pro 4 – whenever it shows up – will continue on that trajectory. The non-pro Surfaces, however, should simply not be continued. They can confuse consumers looking to buy Microsoft’s tablet, and they fragment the market Microsoft is trying to create.

[Sources: Microsoft via Neowin, Digitimes]


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