Microsoft Surface Hub goes up in price while shipping dates get blurred

Microsoft is often its own largest threat to its success and nearing the release of the Surface Hub; the company is at again. New reports are surfacing that not only is Microsoft delaying the shipping dates of the Surface Hub further, but that customers can now expect a price hike of up to an additional $2,000 (US).

Almost a year ago, Microsoft teased its bet for conference computing dubbed the Surface Hub. The Surface Hub was a reimagined take the Pixel Sense-powered Surface, which was more table oriented than the new vertically mounted presentation window of the Hub.

Over the past year, businesses have been clamoring for a chance to experiment with the new conferencing system, equipped with a specialized version of Windows 10 as well as a 55 inch or 84 inch, multi-touch display, two digital pens, support for NFC and Bluetooth connections and dual cameras for Skype calls.

However, Microsoft continues to keep the potential success of the Surface Hub at bay, releasing a statement to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley indicating that the company reevaluated the pricing of its conferencing unit and adjusted accordingly.

After evaluating the market opportunity and considering the unique collaboration scenarios Surface Hub offers, we believe these are the right prices to drive the business and the category forward.”

The new price range bumps the original 55-inch Surface Hub up from $6,999 (US) to $8,999 (US) and the 84-inch version now sits at $21,999 (US), originally $19,999 (US). Fortunately, for customers who have been placing orders since July of this year, their prices have been locked in and should remain so until the devices are shipped.

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On top of the price bumps, Microsoft is indicating that shipping dates for the Surface Hub aren’t as black and white as previously stated. Back in August of this year, it was reported that the original surface Hub shipping dates had ‘slipped’ and that Microsoft was ensuring new dates as soon as January 1, 2016.

Unfortunately, a Microsoft clarification has done the opposite of clarifying or reaffirming that specific date.

We are still on track to ship the first Surface Hub devices to customers earlier next year.”

Specifically, a spokesperson relayed to Mary Jo, that the conference devices will begin shipping in the first calendar quarter of 2016, which is a range that includes the months of January, February, and March.

As Microsoft transitions away from being a hardware and software company to being a software and services business, its brief adventures in production cycles have yet to be ironed out. The Surface RT and Surface Pro were over produced and poorly distributed. Arguably, in its fourth iteration, the Surface Pro 4 is still going through teething pains, as well as Microsoft struggling to distribute Lumia phones, Xbox Ones, and Microsoft Bands internationally.

With Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s decision to shutter the Nokia hardware division, and the company losing upwards of 9 billion dollars on mismanaged hardware, Microsoft is being rightfully cautious about when, where, and how it manufactures and prices its first party devices. It now seems the Surface Hub is joining the list of meticulously-produced devices.

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Will the new prices push businesses away from the Surface Hub?