How Intel killed Microsoft’s Surface

microsoft-surface-3-02The dark satanic rumour mill has been noting how Microsoft’s popular Surface 3 is starting to disappear from the shelves.  All this suggests that Vole is planning to kill off the tablet.

However, it would appear that the Surface 3, which is a cheaper cut down version of the Surface Pro, might be a casualty of Intel’s Atexit earlier this year and its decision to cull Atom development.

The Surface Pro arrived last Spring with a Cherry Trail Atom under the bonnet. It was a serviceable, if not rather dull mobile chip.  Microsoft would normally be thinking of replacing it with something better about now and Intel would normally have complied by replacing it with something from the the “Broxton” family with a new Goldmont core.

Intel however gave up on most of its planned Broxton processors as it scaled back its investment in phone and tablet components. Some Airmont parts have been announced, but they have all been aimed at low-end desktops and laptops with processors in the 4-6 watt space, not tablets with 2W processors such as the Surface 3.

Intel could offer Vole its Core M parts, which would have given the Surface a substantial performance upgrade. However, that would represent price hike from $37 for the Atom to about $250 for a core M.  AMD does not have a chip in this range, and an ARM chip would break most of the Surface’s Windows software.