Report: Microsoft to discontinue Surface 3 by December 2016

Microsoft's Surface 3 tablet was notable for its move away from ARM SoCs and Windows RT to an Intel Cherry Trail Atom CPU and unfettered Windows. Reviewers praised its build quality and performance, but its high price when paired with a Surface Pen and Type Cover was a major source of complaints. Despite that mixed value proposition, Microsoft told ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley that it's seen "strong demand" for the tablet since its introduction—but it's also planning to discontinue the Surface 3 by December of this year, regardless.

That report comes after Microsoft watchers noticed that many Surface 3 configurations were unavailable on the Microsoft Store. Indeed, the only model in stock there right now is the version with 64GB of storage and 2GB of RAM plus a cellular data adapter. That shortage appears isolated to Surface 3s, since all models of Surface Books and Surface Pro 4s appear to be readily available. If we're reading tea leaves, that stock situation suggests Microsoft's more powerful Surfaces are doing just fine in the market. Foley wasn't able to get any information from Redmond on a Surface 3 replacement, so we'll have to wait and see just what this extremely gradual winding-down means for the future of the smallest Surface.

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