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Microsoft again writes off Surface inventory, renews profitability doubts

Gregg Keizer | July 24, 2014
Omits cost of revenue for Surface in latest SEC filing, but acknowledges a write-off to cover the Surface Mini that didn't launch.

That moment, some have speculated, would be when Microsoft has readied a touch-first version of Office on Windows 8.1. Microsoft has been clear -- never more so than lately -- that its device strategy is tightly tied to productivity, and Office is the productivity software giant. A smaller-screen Surface would be worthless with the current edition of Office, which is designed for mouse-and-keyboard control.

Long-time Microsoft watchers such as ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley have asserted that a touch-centric Office -- which Microsoft has promised it will deliver -- will ship next year, perhaps alongside the next iteration of Windows, which most have dubbed "Threshold" and may end up being called "Windows 9" for lack of a better name.

Microsoft may reveal more information about the Surface's profitability in the forthcoming 10-K, but that may not appear for two weeks or so.

Because the June quarter was the end of Microsoft's 2014 fiscal year, the company has more time to complete and file the 10-K. Officially, it has 90 days after the close of the fiscal year to do so. But most companies, Microsoft included, file long before that. Last year, for instance, Microsoft filed its end-of-year 10-K just 12 days after it did the June quarter's 8-K.

Computerworld will revisit the Surface's financials if that 10-K includes more data.


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