The Microsoft Surface Duo is in trouble

Jez Corden

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Unsurprising. Microsoft / Surface does very little to earn trust from the fans it gathered. After Windows Phone's utter catastrophe, they can't afford to handle Surface in the same way. Microsoft is so passive on this ****, and it's so annoying. It feels like nothing matters to them sometimes.
 
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Telescuffle

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After being a part of the Windows Phone community since WP7 until the bitter end with my Lumia 950 - this news is crushing considering I bought a Duo 2 only a few months ago. Even if they aren't going to continue with their Mobile efforts, they owe their loyal fans the support they promised - as they did with Windows Mobile.

Though I don't think I can trust Microsoft/Surface again.
 

Jcmg62

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Well, it was fun while it lasted.

I guess I'll use my D2 until something gives out...probably the battery before the hinge is my best guess.

This feels like the ghost of Windows Phone. Microsoft start down a path, can't find a foothold, start to lose a grip on OS and hardware development, scale back and silently start to wrap things up, and eventually we hear weeks later that they turned the proverbial lights off.

I honestly cannot see a compelling reason for an Android based folding screen Duo, especially if they're going to wait until 2024 to launch. By then, the Pixel Fold (and others) will be fairly well established with their own devices, all of which look strikingly similar to the Duo.

The only USP Microsoft have available to them is the OS. I get this ain't happening and we've all been here before etc etc but Microsoft need to find a way to make their OS work in a mobile world. Piggybacking on Android is not the solution.
 

Jcmg62

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After being a part of the Windows Phone community since WP7 until the bitter end with my Lumia 950 - this news is crushing considering I bought a Duo 2 only a few months ago. Even if they aren't going to continue with their Mobile efforts, they owe their loyal fans the support they promised - as they did with Windows Mobile.

Though I don't think I can trust Microsoft/Surface again.
I've had a similar journey to you. Jumped into windows phone 7 and stayed right to the 950.

I bought my Duo 2 nearly 18 months ago and it's a rock solid device.

The one difference we do have to our advantage this time is that we have android on board. It's not the ideal solution, and I'll never stop wishing we had an official windows version of the Duo, but at least now if Microsoft step away from Duo, the OS will continue to be supported by Google.
 

Mattytwotimes

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It's sad but not surprising. Microsoft always fails the same way. They half heartedly try something that could be amazing, then quit when their half measures don't work. They always seem to fall back on enterprise (boring) stuff that isn't exciting or news worthy but makes them money. The problem I think is that people growing up on apple and Google products won't likely turn to Microsoft when they eventually join the work force. As a professional, most of my colleagues my age or younger today would rather have an apple product or Gmail account if given the choice at work. That's a result of Microsoft never trying and always failing their consumer base.
 

negative1ne

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It's sad but not surprising. Microsoft always fails the same way. They half heartedly try something that could be amazing, then quit when their half measures don't work. They always seem to fall back on enterprise (boring) stuff that isn't exciting or news worthy but makes them money. The problem I think is that people growing up on apple and Google products won't likely turn to Microsoft when they eventually join the work force. As a professional, most of my colleagues my age or younger today would rather have an apple product or Gmail account if given the choice at work. That's a result of Microsoft never trying and always failing their consumer base.

so you think surface is a failure (all brands of it), and xbox too.
ok.

later
||| | | | || |
ne gative1
 

jasqid

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No one should be surprised. MS does what they do best. Screw consumers. They dont stick with anything so dont be surprised when Surface is the next.
MS Accounting, Money, Outlook Small Business Contact Manager, Zune, Xbox Music, Groove Music, Windows Phone, Windows Mobile. Office 365 Access on Web (Used this in my business and they burned me). Think I just read they are doing away with Hardware such as keyboards and mice. Wont be long for the next thing.
 

pjmlp

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This is hardly any different from how Windows Phone was so badly managed, not only for users, specially for developers, a mismanagement that carries after several WinUI/UWP rewrites, that put developers away from investing into new Microsoft products, other than classical Windos stuff.

As for Google being sour with Microsoft, Microsoft is creating alternative Android stores on Windows and there is the rumour of having also another one coming, except Microsoft isn't Samsung or any of Android heavyweigths OEMs.

This is yet another example of how things go every time Microsoft is doing something that isn't Windows as target platform.
 

Cmndr_Bytes

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I don't understand why they don't just port the Windows OS to these and future mobile devices. At least they would not have to fight with Google about this. No need for special apps if it's basically a Windows OS.

Thought I do have to say, as a Windows mobile fan, none of this is shocking. For those who feel screwed over I can totally sympathize.
 

MorganRW

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This was doomed from jump when they tried to make it a "me too" Android Phone. None of the specs made this a competitive phone. In fact, this should not have telephony capability at all. This should have been a Surface device with full Windows. The smallest and lightest portable computer available. At home and the office, have a dock that allows for use of multiple monitors and keyboard and mouse. For travel, a folding keyboard/dock. I would love nothing more than to have a work or personal micro laptop that fits in my pocket instead of lugging around a bag or backpack with a traditional laptop. On the go, this device would be perfect for responding to email and MS Teams or other IMs. Could be a great device but they are using it wrong.
 

bleached

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This never made much sense in the first place. Launching a dual screen device alongside folding screens, and at a similar price was silly. It was doomed from the beginning.
 

taynjack

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Wait for it... Wait for it... Microsoft's unofficial motto. Absolute masters of overselling anticipation. Like a terrible social influencer.
 

taynjack

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Unsurprising. Microsoft / Surface does very little to earn trust from the fans it gathered. After Windows Phone's utter catastrophe, they can't afford to handle Surface in the same way. Microsoft is so passive on this ****, and it's so annoying. It feels like nothing matters to them sometimes.
How does Microsoft still not understand this?? They've turned over staff enough in the last decade you'd think this would change but it never does.
 

mrhashbrown

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Frankly, this is probably a good decision. The Surface Duo made sense when it debuted since foldables were still an open undecided question. No one was sold on the single screen foldable yet since Samsung was the only major OEM pushing it and it had clear flaws - deep fold down the middle of your display not easily ignored, awkward dimensions of a tall unwieldy front screen, a chunky and heavy folded state unfriendly to pockets, plus some pretty disastrous first two attempts (2019-2020) largely panned by the media and market. Surface Duo 1 debuted while there was still doubt about the Galaxy Fold's future, so things remained undecided as both fought for a niche market not knowing which option early adopters would respond to.

Microsoft's bet on a dual screen device made a ton of sense in 2020 as an alternative to the single screen foldable. Skinnier than almost any typical smartphone, no valley awkwardly dented in a single screen, and more ergonomically friendly dimensions. Plus its calling card -- one of the most productivity-focused Android smartphones ever made. There is no denying end users can accomplish a ton more with a dual screen set up - just ask PC users and gamers over the past two decades. But people didn't quite 'get it' when it first launched - can't believe how many media reviews I saw of journalists attempting to watch a videos spanned across both displays and pointing to the space separating them as a failure. Couldn't help but think to myself, "no sh*t because there's a gap and that is not the intended use of this device." The intended use was as a better version of taping together two Android phones side by side -- having two different apps or functions next to each other for double the potential production. And cleverly 'spanned' UIs from apps that would take advantage of both displays in a more sophisticated way.

Microsoft admittedly did a bad job marketing it this way, so I'm guessing that is why reviewers lumped it into the Samsung concept of a fold-open tablet. But it also did not help that...
  • Google was poor on quickly helping foldables with a friendly Android UI.
  • The Android tablet experience remains garbage, since the most popular apps fail to use wider screen real estate compared to iPads.
  • The Galaxy Fold 3 was finally a well-rounded functional device brought to market just a few months after the Duo 1
  • Samsung years-ahead in custom software development including deals with app developers for Galaxy-exclusive features, and building their own app store.
  • Samsung winning U.S. carrier deals that remain essential to any phone's mainstream success here (as we saw with Windows Phones / Lumias at their small peak)
The Galaxy Fold 4 put an exclamation point on all of this after the Surface Duo 2 came to market despite having close to a 12-month head start to sell its vision for the dual screen format instead.

Now with Google about to agree to Samsung's precedent and debut a single-screen Pixel Fold to consumers, the market has been decided - it wants a fold-open tablet.

With the market heading in that direction, Microsoft does not have incentive to keep supporting Surface Duo as a niche product that did not sell similar volumes as Samsung foldables. That might have been different if Microsoft pitched Duos towards businesses first rather than consumers -- then it would have a real customer base it cares about. I am definitely disappointed; I came close to buying a Duo several times and still think it is a great take on foldables that I may actually prefer. But as a business it is hard to blame Microsoft for stepping away and brewing a different approach for the future.
 

naddy69

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“They always seem to fall back on enterprise (boring) stuff that isn't exciting or news worthy but makes them money.”

Well duh. Of COURSE they are going to “fall back” on products/services that actually make money. That’s what business is all about. Making money. Business is not about losing billions of dollars on “exciting, news worthy stuff”. 🙄

“That's a result of Microsoft never trying and always failing their consumer base.”

Microsoft has no “consumer base”. MS never has been, is not now and never will be a consumer products company. Neither is IBM, Cisco or Oracle. Should IBM start a music streaming service? Should Cisco try selling an Android phone? Should Oracle start selling watches?

Of course not. So why do you expect Microsoft to start selling consumer products?
 
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mrhashbrown

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“They always seem to fall back on enterprise (boring) stuff that isn't exciting or news worthy but makes them money.”

Well duh. Of COURSE they are going to “fall back” on products/services that actually make money. That’s what business is all about. Making money. Business is not about losing billions of dollars on “exciting, news worthy stuff”. 🙄

“That's a result of Microsoft never trying and always failing their consumer base.”

Microsoft has no “consumer base”. MS never has been, is not now and never will be a consumer products company. Neither is IBM, Cisco or Oracle. Should IBM start a music streaming service? Should Cisco try selling an Android phone? Should Oracle start selling watches?

Of course not. So why do you expect Microsoft to start selling consumer products?
I'm almost 100% in agreement, the Surface Duo was always a high-risk device and failure was a very real outcome. Unfortunately that's what happened, and maybe Microsoft would have been better off pitching it to businesses first rather than consumers since that is where the company is most successful. The enterprise base a reliable one that has a real need for Microsoft services and could have preferred their spin on an Android phone. I'm sure there's businesses out that wish they had a different option to choose from than just iOS and Android..

The only piece I disagree with you on is altogether writing off Microsoft's consumer business. Windows OS is consumer facing and still dominates the market, while Xbox is a real consumer market success story for 20+ years now. So Microsoft knows how to succeed in those areas. It's really just mobile hardware where it struggles. Frankly I think they made the right choice going with Android and not trying to build their own mobile OS again, especially when the best part of their mobile business is their services for consumers - the Office suite, Outlook, OneDrive, etc.

Although they have gotten aggressive on Windows 11 and trying to bake in hooks for someone to buy into services, I think when it comes to mobile Microsoft holds a unique position as the neutral alternative. Personally I hate iCloud and Apple is downright malicious in how iOS traps you into using the service, can't tell you how many times I've helped family clean up their storage to avoid getting charged monthly for cloud storage they don't want and never even knew they were using.

Google is also predatory in how they push services they charge for, but at least they're a little more transparent about signing up and opting out. However I have seen them threaten to stop delivery of emails to Gmail when pushing a user to sign up for storage, and that's totally messed up in my opinion. Users are definitely spoiled with email and the sheer monstrosity of data that must be difficult to store, but that's something email providers didn't think of at creation and now that's their problem. So after being normal for decades to hold an unlimited volume of emails, to now threaten to revoke your ability to receive new emails because of storage is terrible.

Microsoft can stand in the middle as platform agnostic, and with Office as the killer app both sides of the Android/iOS fence need. And their services are just as high quality and reliable. This is going to keep their consumer mobile efforts alive and probably give them another shot at a mobile device that makes more sense down the road.
 

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