Nothing (New) to See Here: Surface Mini Marketing Materials Leak

Microsoft’s canceled Surface mini is a tough one for some Microsoft fans, but it was always DOA. And with a new leak , we just see more of the same. Satya Nadella was right to cancel this product before it shipped.

As you may know, Brad and I are some of the few people outside of Microsoft to have actually seen Surface mini out in the wild. In fact, I know two people (at Microsoft) who own the device. The leaks we see this week correspond to what I’ve seen, too: A red, plastic exterior (though apparently there are other colors, too), with a kickstand but no Type Cover. (I’ve seen covers for the device, too, but they do not include a keyboard.)

But you may also recall that Mary Jo Foley and I know about the backstory of Surface mini’s cancellation, and that then-new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made the decision to kill the device despite the fact that the first batch—which was made for internal use and for reviewers such as myself—had already been manufactured.

Two items of note to that effect.

One, the DOA comment: Surface mini was based on the ARM platform and ran Windows RT 8.1, which was already being wound down at Microsoft at this time. There was no point is releasing this orphan device given this platform choice and the dearth of apps. It would basically have been a OneNote device with little else in the way of productivity usefulness.

Two, Surface mini was originally conceived as the marquee Surface release for late 2014, with Surface Pro 3 just a side-project that received little attention internally. When Mr. Nadella and his Senior Leadership Team snatched Surface mini away from Panos Panay, the Surface team focused its attention instead on Surface Pro 3. And, surprise, that iconic device became the best-selling Surface device ever to that point and rejuvenated the team. Its two follow-ups, the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro (2017) both use the same design as a result.

Anyway, there’s nothing really “new” here. Just a confirmation of what we already knew.

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