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All signs point to the demise of Microsoft's Surface tablet

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 27, 2015
Microsoft can finally put its billion-dollar mistake behind it.

Surface Mini never released
Last year, Microsoft was on the verge of releasing a smaller-sized Surface, dubbed the Surface Mini, but at the last minute decided not to launch the 7-in. or 8-in. device, afraid that the tablet would not sell.

Neither O'Donnell or Baker were going to hold their breath for a return of the Mini. "I see very little opportunity for a smaller tablet, I don't care who it is," said O'Donnell.

Tablet sales, especially in the U.S., where Microsoft has done its best business with the Surface line, have stalled; most who wanted one already have one, and those with one see little need for regularly replacing the device. And if nothing else, the demise of the Surface has shown that tablets are harder to sell than two years ago.

"I think they've simply burned through their inventory of the Surface," said O'Donnell, when asked about the out-of-stock messages on Microsoft's e-store. "When you build a device you have to buy a whole bunch of parts, you pick some number and you build them. Because there was only one model, they just built a bunch. And now they've finally gone through all of them. So they've called it a day."

Later today, Microsoft will release its 2014 fourth quarter financial figures and reveal sales of the Surface line for the three months ending Dec. 31. The previous period was the first that Microsoft claimed a profit for the tablet and 2-in-1.


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