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February 12, 2013

Microsoft Plans to Continue Adding Products to the Surface Line

By Rory Lidstone, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Microsoft's (News - Alert) first attempt at the tablet market, the Surface RT, was far from a resounding success, despite its solid build quality and smooth performance. However, while the Surface RT failed to capture much consumer attention even during the holiday period, analysts predicted that most consumers were waiting for the Surface Pro.

Boasting an x86 processor and therefore access to the entire library of Windows "legacy" apps, the Surface Pro did seem to offer something new, but was still not treated kindly in early reviews, which complained about its size and weight, limited storage and poor battery life. Still, though, the Surface Pro has seen solid demand since its launch on the weekend, selling out in Microsoft stores and Staples.

It's likely because of this that Microsoft said it plans to continue adding products to the Surface line. Though Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (News - Alert) was vague about the details, it seems likely that future models in the Surface line will follow more in the Surface Pro's footsteps.

Indeed, a statement from Panos Panay, general manager of Microsoft Surface, seems to hint at a more professional focus going forward: "We are focused on the professional segment and the road warrior. The Pro is targeted at the professional road warrior who's moving and traveling and cannot compromise performance whatsoever."

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However, this has led many to ask why Microsoft didn't just make a laptop, to which Microsoft's corporate vice president for Windows Planning, Mike Anguilo, responded, "Our partners are doing a very good job with laptops right now." He added that Microsoft wanted to create something different with the Surface.

While the Surface RT is comparable to other ARM-based tablets from Android, or the Apple (News - Alert) iPad, the Surface Pro does actually create its own market somewhere between these consumer-oriented tablets and an Ultrabook. If Microsoft can manage to address some of the criticisms of the Surface Pro, it may very well find itself taking a large share of the tablet market in the next few years.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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