October 10, 2017 // 11:18 a.m.
Microsoft's Panos Panay has hit back at claims the company is looking to move away from its own-brand Surface hardware line, describing reports of refocusing that could see the range hitting end-of-life in 2019 as 'tabloid rumours.'
Reports that Microsoft was looking to exit the mainstream hardware market by ceasing hardware refreshes on the Surface range of tablets and convertibles began circulating last week, based on claims that the company's hardware division is making considerable losses on the back of low margins and weak sales. With Microsoft's Joe Belfiore admitting on Twitter that development on new features for the Windows Phone platform has ceased, it's clear there is a refocusing of effort inside the company - but Panos Panay says Surface is safe.
Speaking during a panel discussion at an event attended by Business Insider, Panay claimed reports that Surface development was being wound down with a view to end-of-lifing the range in 2019 were 'so far from the truth' and simply the 'tabloid rumour of the week'. Surface, he claimed, is part of Microsoft's focus for the long term, as part of a 'real belief we can change the world'.
It would be nice to take Panay at his word, but unfortunately the Microsoft executive has a history of stretching the truth to breaking point when it comes to the Surface family. In May this year Panay stated outright that there were no immediate plans to launch a successor to the Surface Pro 4, then two weeks later took to the stage to reveal the fifth entry in the Surface Pro family - though, sneakily, dubbed simply the Surface Pro rather than the Surface Pro 5 he had so adamantly declared didn't exist.