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Incase Revives Discontinued Microsoft Mouse & Keyboard Line: A Strategic Partnership or Niche Shift?

In a surprising turn of events, California-based accessory maker Incase is taking over a portion of Microsoft’s discontinued mouse and keyboard business. This strategic partnership, announced in January 2024, sees Incase manufacturing and branding select popular models from Microsoft’s previously axed peripheral lineup.

Key Highlights:

  • Incase and Microsoft partner to bring back popular discontinued mice and keyboards under the “Incase Designed by Microsoft” branding.
  • The partnership focuses on reviving popular models, not the entire discontinued lineup.
  • Microsoft shifts focus to Surface brand while leveraging Incase’s expertise in accessory manufacturing.
  • Incase expands portfolio beyond laptop/phone accessories, entering the PC peripherals market.
  • Move expected to benefit both companies by capitalizing on existing demand and brand recognition.

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The move marks a significant shift for both companies. Microsoft discontinued its own hardware production of mice and keyboards in 2023, choosing to prioritize its Surface brand and focus on software and services. Incase, known for its premium laptop bags and phone cases, is venturing into the PC peripherals market for the first time with this partnership.

A Win-Win Scenario for Both Brands

Analysts suggest this partnership benefits both companies. Incase gains access to established designs and brand recognition, potentially propelling them into the competitive PC peripherals market. Microsoft, on the other hand, can cater to existing demand for popular discontinued models without dedicating resources to in-house production.

“We’re excited to partner with Incase to bring back some of our most popular mice and keyboards,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. “Their expertise in design and manufacturing will ensure these products continue to meet the high standards our customers expect.”

The initial lineup includes popular models like the Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard and the Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600. These “Incase Designed by Microsoft” devices will retain the core design and functionality of the originals, with Incase taking over production and branding. Notably, not all discontinued Microsoft peripherals will be revived through this partnership.

Focus on Niche Demand & Future Prospects

This partnership suggests a growing trend of tech companies focusing on their core strengths and collaborating with niche players for peripheral production. By leveraging Incase’s expertise in manufacturing and catering to specific market segments, Microsoft can maintain a presence in the peripheral market without deviating from its strategic focus on the Surface brand.

Incase, on the other hand, gains a valuable entry point into the PC peripherals market with established products and brand recognition. Their success in reviving these discontinued models could pave the way for further expansion into the broader peripheral landscape.

It remains to be seen how this partnership evolves and whether it extends beyond the initial lineup of revived models. However, the initial response from fans of the discontinued Microsoft peripherals has been positive, suggesting a potentially lucrative niche market for Incase and Microsoft to tap into.