Microsoft: We're going to broaden Surface lineup

A Microsoft executive mentions -- again -- expanding the Surface tablet franchise. The comments were made during the company's earnings conference call.

Microsoft Surface RT.  The Surface Pro version goes on sale February 9. The CFO today reiterated that the lineup will grow.
Microsoft Surface RT. The Surface Pro version goes on sale February 9. The CFO today reiterated that the lineup will grow. Brooke Crothers

During Microsoft's second-quarter earnings conference call today, the company's chief financial officer reiterated that the lineup of Surface devices will expand.

After Microsoft reported reported earning today , Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein spoke about future Surface products -- though he was mum about specifics.

"We had limited distribution this quarter in our stores and we're excited about expanding that [distribution]," he said, responding to an analyst's question.

"We're going to expand geographically, we're going to expand the product lineup, we're going to expand retail distribution and capacity," he said, in comments about Surface. Microsoft has made similar comments in the past.

Klein repeated a number of times that Surface contributed to revenue. "Certainly this quarter it was a contributing factor to revenue growth in the Windows business," Klein said.

And he inserted some serious commentary inside an innocuous-sounding statement. "It highlights some interesting innovation that can happen...demonstrates the power of Windows 8 when tightly integrated with hardware and software."

In short, in order for a product to be done right, one company must make both the hardware and software -- as Apple has done successfully.

Klein did not mention -- and wasn't asked about -- shipment numbers for Surface RT. Speculation has been all over the map, though most analysts believe the number is somewhere in the neighborhood of a million.

The CFO also repeated previous comments by other Microsoft executives regarding the demand for Windows 8 touch devices. "There's great demand for touch devices," he said, adding that supply cannot keep up with demand.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. PST: throughout.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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