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Why it matters: It is the end of an era at Microsoft as the Redmond-based tech giant is discontinuing its Microsoft-branded line of keyboards, mice, and other PC peripherals to focus on accessories carrying the Surface moniker.
In a statement issued to The Verge, Microsoft Senior Communications Manager Daniel Laycock said that going forward, Microsoft will shift its attention to Windows PC accessories under the Surface name. Existing Microsoft-branded peripherals already on the market will remain on sale until supplies last, the executive added.
Microsoft-branded PC accessories date back to the early 1980s when the company put out its first mouse, which was bundled with Microsoft Word and Notepad. Several other standout products came out of Redmond in subsequent years including the quirky Natural Keyboard with its split ergonomic design in 1994 and the IntelliMouse series starting in 1996.
Microsoft was a leader in pointer technology at the time and was among the first to ship products with scroll wheels and side buttons. The company's IntelliMouse Explorer featured optical tracking technology, eliminating the pesky mouse ball that needed frequent cleaning. It sounds trivial nowadays but at the time, going from a ball to an optical sensor was a real game changer.
A few years back, Microsoft introduced retro-inspired remakes of its classic IntelliMouse. They were not nearly as cutting edge as the original but were still attractive to a certain segment of nostalgia seekers.
Laycock reinforced the fact that Microsoft will continue to offer accessories like keyboards, mice, pens, docks, and adaptive accessories under the Surface brand. What's unclear, however, is if Microsoft will tweak price points at all.
As The Verge highlights, Surface-branded peripherals are not always the cheapest on the market. Microsoft-branded accessories, on the other hand, were on average a bit more affordable. With them going away, will Microsoft adjust pricing on existing Surface models or introduce new budget offerings to fill the gap?
Have you used any Microsoft-branded accessories over the years? If so, are there any particular products you really enjoyed?
Image credit: Nate D. Sanders Auctions