Rumored follow-ons for Surface tablets; reduced orders for original Surface

Even if true, not astonishing.

The big Windows 8 rumors out today are that Microsoft has cut in half its order for Surface RT tablets even as the company is in the thick of work on the next generation of the products.

First, the cut in orders. That rumor comes from DigiTimes which says the order for Surface RT tablets has been cut from 4 million to 2 million. That’s based on unnamed sources.

The same post says Microsoft is considering lowering the price of Surface Pro, the full Windows 8 x86 version of its new hardware. That would be surprising given that the company just announced the price of Surface Pro (starts at $899) last week.

RELATED: Windows 8 Update: Microsoft Surface Pro tablets start at $899, no keyboard 

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The second rumor is from the MS_Nerd Twitter account, and it says Microsoft is already working on the next generation of both its Surface RT tablet and its as-yet unreleased Surface Pro laptop.

If the DigiTimes rumor is true, that would indicate that Microsoft itself expects Surface RT to struggle and wants to cut its losses. It would also indicate that the company’s marketing and advertising blitz isn’t working as well as Microsoft hoped.

The second rumor likely is true because most companies get to work on the next generation of their products well before they are due out. Second-generation products are commonly part of the original roadmap. It would be more noteworthy if Microsoft were not working on the next iteration of these new tablet/notebooks.

Another facet of the second rumor is that Microsoft is also working on a third Surface product called Surface Book, but no details on what it would be like other than having a 14.6-inch screen and a processor that won't ship until next year. Timeframe for the new devices is perhaps around this time next year.

If this last part has any truth to it, Microsoft hardware partners might be upset. They’re already not too pleased about Surface RT and Surface Pro cutting in on their turf. This would just make that incursion worse.

(Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at and follow him on Twitter!/Tim_Greene.)

More on Microsoft 

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Is Google taking a run at Windows 8?

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Demise of Cius offers lessons for Windows 8

Why aren’t Apple and Amazon dumping on Windows RT?

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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