Last week saw Microsoft hold its annual developer’s conference, and there was a lot of news to come out of Build 2019 – including the update to the Edge browser, augmented reality Minecraft for mobiles, and the launch of Windows Terminal. What wasn’t on show was anything focused on its Surface hardware or the next generation Surface Book 3.
Satya Nadella Microsoft CEO, speaking about Intelligent Futures (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The simple answer is that Build 2019 was not a comprehensive view of every Microsoft property, it was – to coin a phrase – all about ‘developers, developers, developers’. The Surface was not alone in being skipped over, there was very little foreshadowing of Windows 10, even though the May 2019 update is ready to drop.
In terms of the product timetables and developments around the Surface hardware, Build generally comes at the wrong point in the cycle to allow for a big hardware moment. Although there have been some minor updates to the portfolio in the last few months that could have been held back for Build 2019 as well as the launch of the Surface Hub 2S, that would have diluted the chosen focus on developers.
But this approach means that Microsoft misses the chance to present its own very high view of all of the current elements in the company’s portfolio and how they all connect with each other and how they enhance each individual product line. It is possible to infer what is going on, but to have CEO Sataya Nadella stand up at a keynote and go ‘this is where we are going as a company’ would have helped answer the question ‘what is Microsoft for?’ in the way that Google addressed at its I/O 2019 event.
Microsoft Surface Hub 2S (image: Microsoft.com)
Microsoft is expected to update the Surface line-up with a new Surface Book later this year, probably in October.
Now read more about the success of the Surface brand to Microsoft’s bottom line…