The things that Microsoft didn't announce at yesterday's event are just as interesting. There was no updated non-Pro Surface and, more importantly, no smaller Surface tablet. Over the past month, various reports claimed that Microsoft would unveil a "smaller" Surface to competing with Google's Nexus 7 and Apple's iPad Mini. The event was even called a "small" event, adding to fuel to the fire of speculation. But the smaller Surface was conspicuously absent with no explanation from Microsoft.
According to a report from Bloomberg citing anonymous sources, Microsoft has created a smaller Surface tablet, the Surface Mini, but decided not the debut it because it "wasn't different enough" from Apple and Google's offerings to "be a hit."
While this attitude may seem defeatist by Microsoft, it gives insight into what type of company Microsoft is now: within one week—the alleged time frame of the cancellation of the smaller Surface—the company pulled a product from launching, back tracking from months of R&D and millions of dollars spent on development. Ballmer-era Microsoft would never have made a decision like that, leading to product failures such as Windows Vista. Satya Nadella's leadership has been validated by this kind of 11th hour decision making.
According to people at Microsoft, the Surface Mini may not have killed completely and may yet make an appearance but the last minute decision to pull the tablet from the show came directly from the top. The Microsoft of 2014 is certainly under very different management than the Microsoft of 2013.
Going forward, Microsoft's hardware offerings can only improve given the influence of Nokia. Bloomberg's report cites Stephen Elop, ex-CEO of Nokia and the man in charge of Microsoft hardware, as one of the people responsible for the cancellation of the Surface Mini. If Nokia's design language doesn't make it into Microsoft products, it's clear that its management style will.
Having strong leaders leads to strong products that consumers want, as we have seen with Amazon's Kindle, Apple's iPad and iPhone and Google's Search and Android offerings. The new Surface Pro has incredible hardware and there is no reason for it not to sell well—excluding, perhaps, price—and Microsoft's leadership is obviously far more conscious than it previous was, an asset that can only lead the company forward.