New Surface Pro Keyboard
Surface Pro tablets aren't going anywhere according to Microsoft. Rumors of the product line's demise by 2019 were recently disregarded as "far from the truth." The New Surface Pro is available starting at $799. Microsoft

Surface Pro tablets and similar products have fallen in market share by more than 3 percent since last year, and Microsoft’s profit from the Surface business recently fell 2 percent from this same quarter in 2016. It’s stats like these that compelled CEOs at a recent gathering to suggest the Surface would be dead by 2019. However, speaking to Business Insider, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Devices Panos Panay bluntly refuted the idea.

“It’s so far from the truth,” Panay said, dismissing the story as the “tabloid rumor of the week.”

Instead, he says Surface hardware will be part of Microsoft’s DNA for the foreseeable future because of how helpful it’s been in improving Windows 10. For example, he suggests the main reason behind the substantial accuracy improvements of the Surface Pen stylus is that Microsoft was heavily invested in making that product as solid as possible for Surface. While similar tests could have been performed on third-party products, the limited knowledge of that hardware would essentially hurt Microsoft’s ability to fine-tune accessories.

Business Insider also notes Microsoft has taken losses to keep Surface alive in the past. In 2013, the company reportedly shouldered $900 million in unsold Surface RT inventory to keep its fledgling product line around, allowing. The more popular Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 to exist.

That being said, these reassurances arrive amidst recent reports Microsoft will discontinue support for its Windows Phone division based on lackluster adoption of Windows 10 Mobile. It’s unclear how this news impacts the long-rumored Surface Phone. Is Microsoft simply clearing Windows Phone stock to make room for a new Surface device, or is the hardware maker going to kill that project before it starts? Given the ambiguity surrounding most Surface Phone rumors, it’s hard to say for sure.

On the Surface tablet end specifically, it’s equally difficult to ignore that Microsoft’s Surface offering for 2016 wasn’t all that fans had hoped for. Instead of launching the Surface Pro 5, the New Surface Pro is a fairly modest upgrade over its 2015 predecessor. It’s got a new CPU, but lacks several modern accoutrements, like USB-C. One plausible theory is that tablet technology has not advanced far enough to warrant a major refresh. Another point of view, however, is that Microsoft may feel less inclined to make a huge investment on a major successor that’s not guaranteed to sell.

Despite negative press and analysis, Microsoft sees a bright future for Surface. Will we get a proper Surface Pro 5 and Surface Phone in 2018, or is Panay just trying to save face?

The New Surface Pro is available now starting at $799.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s response to the rumors? Will Surface tablets be a thing of the past by 2019? Tell us in the comments section!