Microsoft has confirmed that the company will discontinue selling PC accessories under the Microsoft brand, narrowing the firm's focus to premium-priced peripherals sold under the Surface brand. The decision marks a major fork in the road for Microsoft-badged keyboards and mice, an era that started in 1983. And while the company isn't going to cease the production of PC accessories entirely, the shift to Surface represents a much smaller scope in products going forward. This change, in turn, calls into question the future of ergonomic peripherals at Microsoft, a traditional niche for the company that has resulted in some of their best-known (and most beloved) PC accessories.

"Going forward, we are focusing on our Windows PC accessories portfolio under the Surface brand," Dan Laycock, senior communications manager at Microsoft, told The Verge. "We will continue to offer a range of Surface branded PC Accessories — including mice, keyboards, pens, docks, adaptive accessories, and more. Existing Microsoft branded PC accessories like mice, keyboards, and webcams will continue to be sold in existing markets at existing sell-in prices while supplies last."

The statement contradicts information published by Nikkei about Microsoft's alleged plans to scale back production of Surface-branded gadgets. 

"We were recently informed by the client [Microsoft] to stop making stand-alone keyboards," an executive at a Microsoft supplier reportedly told Nikkei. "We were told the Surface series will still be one of Microsoft's development focuses, but just not the peripherals anymore."​

Microsoft confirmation about its focus shift towards Surface-branded PC accessories comes several months after the company announced a change in its hardware portfolio, which was a part of some 10,000 job cuts. The PC market is struggling due to macroeconomic challenges and uncertainty among consumers. In fact, Microsoft's own devices revenue, which includes Surface, PC accessories, and HoloLens, declined by 30% year-over-year in its most recent quarter, The Verge notes.

Microsoft-branded gadgets have been rather popular on the market over the past four decades, and while behind suppliers like Logitech, HP, and Dell, they've held their place – especially in the ergonomics market. Still, it has been getting increasingly hard for Microsoft to maintain its market share given the increasing number of players in the PC peripherals segment in general. The lucrative gaming keyboards and mice industry has been dominated by companies like Razer and Logitech for a while and then relatively new entrants like Corsair have not been making life of Microsoft any easier in the past decade with their highly-competitive products.

Surface-branded peripherals are a different segment though. They are not aimed at gamers and are not aimed at general users. Instead, they are designed for consumers willing to pay extra for advanced experience and businesses/enterprises for specific functionality. In fact, even Microsoft's recently released Surface-badged Thunderbolt 4 hub is clearly designed for enterprise uses that need functionality like remote management.

Ultimately, although Microsoft is not exiting the peripherals market entirely, the company's change in plans for the future of their hardware accessories seems to be much more significant than just a branding exercise. While Microsoft-designed mice, keyboards, and other devices will live on, narrowing their focus to premium, Surface-branded parts is a big change for a market that Microsoft has been a part of since almost the dawn of the PC – and likely not one for the better.

Source: The Verge

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  • Umfri - Monday, May 1, 2023 - link

    So no Sidewinder Precision Pro FFB Joystick ever??
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, May 1, 2023 - link

    The ship sailed on that 15 years or so ago, I'm afraid. Which is a shame; I (still) have a Precision 2, it's a great multi-genre stick.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - link

    It's a real shame, problem is there are very few games that justify such a peripheral. Ace combat 7 is real picky about sticks, really the only major one was project wingman, arguably everspace. Most games with any sort of flying are built around controllers these days.
  • meacupla - Monday, May 1, 2023 - link

    That's a shame. They made many really nice peripherals that were not gamer oriented, but felt significantly better to use than OEM stuff.

    Oh, and to be clear, Microsoft didn't have to cut 10,000 jobs. They only did it because everyone else was doing it.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - link

    Most businesses are not going to hold onto 10,000 redundant positions until they run in the red, most will, in fact, try to AVOID that is possible.
  • meacupla - Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - link

    Yeah, and I'm saying it's bad business to fire talent to make your quarterly earnings look good. It's very short sighted. The thing is, Microsoft was making enough earnings already, so there was no need to fire anyone.

    It's like pulling out a few disks from a RAID6 array to save on energy costs.
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, May 1, 2023 - link

    it's odd, though. it wasn't until Lotus 1-2-3 was released that there existed a kill app for the IBM PC (and, of course, the tsunami of clones that followed). this was business focused software that drove the hardware.

    it wasn't many days ago that I read that the future of PC-ness was gamers. I felt the vapours coming on. but now, Oh Joy Oh Rapture!!. M$ has seen the light from 40 years ago - the future is to gull the dim witted bidnezzman. that shouldn't be too hard.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - link

    Hey grandpa, the retirement home is that way -->
  • hubick - Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - link

    I've spent $100 on fancy Logitech mice just to have them start registering double clicks for single ones after a year. I always end up back with my trusty MS basic optical mouse. RIP
  • PEJUman - Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - link

    Logitech warranty is one of the best in the industry. I been buying exclusively their mice, trackballs, and keyboards because I know they always stand behind their warranty.

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