Microsoft is (or at least was) working on a smaller version of its Surface PC/tablet hybrid device, called the Microsoft Mini.
But after Microsoft had paid for the production equipment and ran some tests, it opted not to send the device into mass production at the last minute, sources told Taiwanese tech pub DigiTimes.
Microsoft was concerned the tablet wouldn’t sell well because there was nothing special enough about it, DigiTimes reports.
And that concern comes from the fact that Microsoft still isn’t ready with the star bit of software the Mini team was counting on: the full-touch version of Office.
With a nod from CEO Satya Nadella, the Office team decided to backburner touch Office for Windows to concentrate on getting a touch version of Office out for Android first, sources told ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. That’s now expected sometime in 2014.
Along with that, the team may actually delay the touch version of Office for Windows until Microsoft releases its next version of Windows altogether, code-named “Threshold.” Threshold may eventually be called Windows 9. And that’s supposed to happen in 2015.
Microsoft inadvertently confirmed the existence of the Mini earlier with mentions of the Mini scattered in Microsoft’s product manuals. It was expected to be announced when Microsoft launched its Surface Pro 3 device in May.
That didn’t happen, though.
Or, in other words, Microsoft’s software team took a bite out of its PC manufacturing unit. As Hal Berenson, retired Microsoft distinguished engineer (now a consultant) points out, Microsoft just got a taste of what it’s been putting its PC partners through.
Microsoft the OEM built a device expecting Microsoft the software company to deliver a compelling experience for it. Microsoft the software company failed to deliver, forcing Microsoft the OEM to postpone or cancel a product it knew couldn’t be successful in the market. CEO Satya Nadella just experienced first-hand what OEM CEOs have been experiencing for much of the last two decades.
This type of interaction between hardware and software units is going to become even more interesting as Microsoft integrates Nokia into its business. That deal cost Microsoft $US7.2 billion and closed in April.