The Internet, or at least the subsection that closely follows Microsoft activity, is abuzz today with news that the company has registered a domain that could point to the development of the mythical “Surface Phone.” As many publications are reporting, “Microsoft now owns surfacephone.com” (via WMPoweruser).
Except it really doesn’t mean anything, and it certainly has nothing to do with any current work by the now-combined Surface and Lumia teams on a Surface-branded handset.
According to Whoisology, a historical database of WHOIS records, Microsoft acquired the domain sometime between August and December 2014. That’s a full 14 to 17 months ago, and the same year that its acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services division closed. (The domain was first registered in May 2007.)
What’s more, Microsoft owns a lot of domains: at least 67,681 of them, according to the latest Whoisology database (which is updated every four months).
Of the 1,680,376 domains and subdomains Sitedossier has cataloged for the nameserver ns1.msft.net, a full 55 of them begin with the word “surface” — and the list is far from complete (it doesn’t even include surfacephone.com, for instance). They are:
surface-svcs.com, surface-svcs.net, surface-svcs.org, surface.ca, surface.com, surface.de, surface.info, surface.lt, surface.org, surface.se, surfaceacademy2009.codeplex.com, surfaceavailabilityapp.com, surfaceavailabilityapp.net, surfacebing.com, surfaceblog.net, surfacebooks.com, surfacecam.com, surfacecar.com, surfacecasino.biz, surfacecoffeetables.com, surfacedeals.com, surfacekeyboard.com, surfacelaptop.com, surfacelaptop.net, surfacelaptop.org, surfacemicrosoft.com, surfacemicrosoft.net, surfacemouse.com, surfacemovies.net, surfacemultitouch.com, surfacemultitouch.net, surfacenotebook.net, surfacepad.com, surfacepad.net, surfacepc.net, surfacepoker.net, surfaceretail.com, surfaceskype.com, surfaceslate.com, surfaceslate.net, surfacestore.net, surfacetablet.net, surfacetabletpen.com, surfacetouch.com, surfacetouch.net, surfacetypecovers.com, surfacevcr.com, surfacevcr.net, surfacevertical.com, surfacevertical.net, surfacevideo.net, surfacevirtualconcierge.com, surfacevirtualconcierge.net, surfacewebcam.com, surfacezune.com
Still, from this sampling alone, we see a number of generic surface brandings such as surfacemouse, surfacelaptop, surfacecam, and even surfacecar.
The registration of surfacephone.com over a year ago likely had little to do with any actual company plans, instead representing just a small piece of Microsoft’s overall effort to secure as many tech-related, Surface-branded domains as it could.
In fact, Surface was not originally used as a name of a consumer line of tablets, but rather a multi-touch table for enterprise rebranded as PixelSense.
Microsoft may well be developing a phone for commercial release inside its Panos Panay-led Surface division, but the recent discovery of the surfacephone.com domain — which currently redirects to the Surface landing page on Microsoft.com — is hardly evidence of it.