Fear of the iPhone 6 caused Microsoft to ditch production of Surface Mini

Surface-Pro-3

Many users were surprised when the expected Surface Mini tablet didn’t arrive alongside the Surface Pro 3 back in May. A new report, however, sheds a bit of light on the issue.

According to upstream supply chain sources who spoke with DigiTimes, Microsoft ditched plans for a small-size tablet due to fierce competition in the marketplace, along with negative responses from brand vendor clients.

With nothing standout about the Surface Mini’s tech spec (it was reportedly set to sport a 7.5- to 8-inch display, ARM processors, and OneNote and Windows RT 8.1 operating system) Microsoft feared the device’s success would be severely hampered by the arrival of the upcoming 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6, which is expected to have a major impact on the demand for 7-inch tablets.

Microsoft had allegedly finished developing the Surface Mini, had completed tests, and paid for the module development and production equipment, prior to scrapping the project — or at least placing it on the back burner.

The company accidentally leaked news of the Surface Mini in its official Surface Pro 3 user manual that was published online recently, and then pulled it.

“You’ll pair your new pen with Surface Mini a little later during setup,” reads the Microsoft user manual, referring to the Surface Pen setup.

Better luck next time, Microsoft!

  • Rafterman00

    This doesn’t even make sense. A 5.5 inch display is a million miles away from an 8 inch display. The only thing that would compete is the iPad mini – not iPhones.

    • Ryan Karolak

      I agree. That reasoning doesn’t make sense. I don’t see why a new iPhone would scare MS away from the Surface Mini. Like Rafterman00 said, an iPad mini, if anything from Apple, would make more sense.

      Personally, I think it’s because we already have a market of 7-8″ Windows tablets from various people like Dell and Toshiba that are selling really well in the $200 to $350 price range, and are full x86 Windows 8 machines. At this point, even with a stylus, I think MS realized that a 7″ Windows RT tablet would be a tough sell; especially considering it’d probably be more expensive than the existing 7″ Windows tablets.

  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    I’m sure the iPhone 6 had nothing to do with Microsoft not offering a Surface Mini. Microsoft has plenty of money to take risks and will happily swallow the losses. The Surface Pro is in its third edition and the earlier models didn’t even sell that well. There were likely other reasons for Microsoft to hold off such as a market glut. It would be darn hard for the Surface Mini to grab traction in such an overcrowded tablet market whether the iPhone 6 is in it or not.

  • tornacious

    This is another stupid article with typos galore. Fire this text monkey named Luke.

  • Craig B

    Why is there a trackpad on the Surface keyboard when it’s a touchscreen?

    • Sowhatnow

      So you can use the keyboard without the screen – it’s a new feature from Microsoft (yay, innovating!) ;)

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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