Microsoft Surface is 8 years old – and the high-end laptop brand is bigger than ever

Microsoft Surface Pro X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Eight years ago this week, the Microsoft Surface line – a then-revolutionary series of tablet-laptop hybrid devices – hit the market and helped blaze the trail for a whole new kind of computing experience.

As detailed by Windows Central, the original Microsoft Surface was a far cry from the kinds of devices Microsoft puts out today. The original had bezels wide enough to hold a small post-it note but crucially offered pen support, making tablet styluses actually functional.

The new 2-in-1 laptop form factor that Microsoft introduced has since been adopted by every laptop manufacturer to varying degrees. Even Apple blurred the line between a laptop and a tablet with its iPad Pro, introduced in 2015.

In the eight years since it first launched, Microsoft has added several different Surface products to its lineup, including the Surface Go, the Surface Book, and the Android-based Surface Duo.

Microsoft's Surface products have become a solid revenue stream for the company

Microsoft notoriously rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s by leveraging software licensing of their operating systems to various computer makers in the US and Asia – unlike Apple, which built both the operating system exclusively for its Macintosh line of personal computers.

Letting hardware makers install Microsoft's OS on their systems relieved the manufacturers of the need to write one themselves, allowing Microsoft to capture nearly the entire OS market for itself without ever having to build its own computers.

So it's pretty ironic that now, in 2020, the Microsoft-manufactured Surface line has become a solid source of cash for the company – though it's still far behind the company's cloud computing division in terms of revenue.

As the Surface line of products reaches maturity, we can definitely expect more incredible products from Microsoft in the years ahead. 

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).