Microsoft is planning to ship Surface 3 later this week, and with all the attention on its shiny new laptop replacement, the company is cutting pricing for Surface Pro 2 models in the U.S. and Europe.
Microsoft is lopping $100 off the 64 GB and 128 GB Surface Pro 2 models, which are now listed for $799 and $899 respectively on its online store. The 512 GB model is getting a $200 price cut and can now be had for $1,599, and the 256 GB model is already sold out.
As reported by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft has also cut pricing for the Surface Pro 2 in the U.K. and France.
The Surface Pro 2 was seen as a major improvement on its predecessor, particular when it came to battery life. But with Microsoft billing its recently unveiled Surface 3 as a tablet that can replace laptops, it's not surprising that the company is moving to clear its Surface Pro 2 stock.
The vast majority of Microsoft partners still can't sell Surface tablets unless they want to buy them through retail, and unless that changes with Surface 3, enthusiasm in the channel is likely to remain low.
Andy Kretzer, director of marketing and sales at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder, doesn't think the Surface Pro 2 price cuts will be enough to entice customers that are waiting for the Surface 3 to arrive.
"Those that are firmly in the Microsoft camp will want the latest Surface 3, and those that are interested, but not thrilled, with the Surface 2 will likewise wait for the Surface 3," Kretzer told CRN.
Surface 3, with its 12-inch, high-contrast screen, is widely viewed as Microsoft's best effort yet at showing it's capable to taking a bite out of Apple's iPad and MacBook Air market share. But this could be Microsoft's last chance to show that people actually want to buy a device that converges these separate use cases.
Microsoft has pushed the ship date of the 128 GB Surface 3 with an Intel Core i5 chip from June 20 to June 30, although Microsoft's online store is still showing June 20 as the ship date for the 256 GB model.
Microsoft took a $900 million charge on unsold Surface RT inventory last July, and last month, Nomura Securities estimated that the Redmond, Wash.-based vendor has amassed around $2 billion in operating losses on the Surface product line overall.