Microsoft could be working on developing a mini-version of its Surface tablet. According to the Wall Street Journal, the software giant has begun developing a lineup of new tablets that some believe will go into mass production later this year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the motivation behind this move is that Microsoft is eager to move its company forward in order to “counter urgent threats to its $75 billion software empire.” Naturally it makes sense for the company to produce a mini tablet — after all, Samsung, Amazon, and Apple all have miniature versions of their tablets and they have been selling well.

Interestingly, it was earlier today when research firm IDC announced that PC shipments hit a new low in Q1 2013, down 13.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012. In its report, IDC Program Vice President of Clients and Displays Bob O’Donnell placed the blame on Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch:

…it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market. While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.

If Microsoft is believing what O’Donnell is saying, then it might be thinking that a new type of Surface and an updated operating system would be the next logical thing.

At this time, no additional details have been discovered about the new Surface, but there are some that speculate that because of Microsoft’s recent “adjustment of the Windows 8 specification“, a mini tablet is in the works. In addition, the news comes just a few weeks before Microsoft is set to put on its Build 2013 event in San Francisco where there is speculation that it will feature Windows Blue, what is believed to be the major update to Windows 8 and RT.

The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that Microsoft is planning on dropping the price for its Windows and Office software in a move it hopes will motivate the creation of lower-cost touchscreen devices powered by its software.

You can read our review of the Microsoft Surface Pro here.

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