Microsoft enlists channel partners for a helping hand selling Surfaces to the enterprise

Microsoft enlists channel partners for a helping hand selling Surfaces to the enterprise

Summary: New channel partners in Europe will begin selling Microsoft's Surface slabs with wrap-around services.


Microsoft is taking a new tack to selling its Surface tablets to enterprise buyers in Europe, announcing 17 new Surface channel partners who will be flogging the devices and related services.

The next stage of Microsoft's "measured" approach to shifting its slow-selling Surface Pro and Surface RT in non-US markets will be to employ channel partners to help with the business market. 

Microsoft began selling to enterprise customers in the US using channel partners on 1 July, while in the other 29 markets where the slate is on sale, it can be bought only directly from Microsoft or through a small set of retailers. The decision through a roadblock in the way of enterprise bulk buying, and hasn't proved a successful move by Microsoft.

As of Thursday though, 17 new channel partners in Europe will begin selling Surface devices to enterprise and public sector in countries including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. UK partners include Phoenix, SCC and Softcat.

Additional markets will be announced in the coming weeks, according to Cyril Belikoff, director of Microsoft Surface.  

Under the "two-tiered" model Microsoft adopted in the US, approved distributors will sell the Surface to Authorised Surface Resellers, which can then sell on the devices along with wraparound services to Microsoft’s customers in the commercial, education and public sectors.

Rather importantly, resellers will also be offering value-add services, including asset tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling and data protection.

The channel expansion program could not come sooner for Microsoft, which recently recorded a $900m writedown on Surface RT inventories and has cut the price of the device by around $150 in the US and Europe.

While Surface RT price drops were global, price drops for Surface Pro in the US through August were not extended to Europe.

Topics: Microsoft Surface, Tablets, EU, United Kingdom

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • After Being Spurned Before, Why Should They Care Now?

    I sense another big writedown coming next quarter...
    • Writedown

      So you think they're going to be doing another big price drop soon?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Freshness discount

        Both Surface RT and Surface Pro are past their "best by" date.
  • one word - Haswell

    The market was frozen before it started with all the buzz over Haswell/(Intel low power devices).
    Well Haswell and next gen Atom with increased performance are here to ignite the enterprise fire with devices they already have the tools to manage and that runs their existing apps.
    • hopefully, intel will also collapse

      along with m$. They have lied, exploited the market and reaped the rewards for too long.
    • Re: next gen Atom with increased performance

      We've been hearing that for the last 5 years: just wait for the next-generation Atom, that will finally fix the performance problems, that will finally be the ARM-killer, that will finally make mobile x86 devices worth using, you'll see.

      Only it never does.
    • RT is the future for the masses.

      For the masses, RT is much better then Atom based tablets. Most of poeple do not need to install PC apps on tablets. They just browse, check e-mails, work with office. And RT is perfect for that. RT devices are thinner, cheaper, and with better battery life. And the most important part is, that it is safer for normal users. They do not install any crap on those machines which will make them slow after a year!!! I think this is the biggest benefit of RT. I would recommend it to any person who is not IT geek and just need a device to consume the net.
      RT is the best os, that MS has made, but poeple will need time to find out. Specially, when "IT gurus" will spread that it is already dead. :)
      • RT is "legacy free"

        Yes, it is the future to be quit of the dire Windows legacy of complexity, vulnerability, and horrible third-party ware to a new simplified white-listed app platform. But if you're getting free of the legacy you may as well go in a whole new direction. One where there are already apps.
  • Well... the article did only say "Surface"

    So I guess that would be the Surface Pro, as the RT thing is dead.

    Hope those "channel partners" got a guaranteed payout if surface doesn't sell. Something to at least cover inventory costs, return costs, and taxes...
  • Re: Microsoft enlists channel partners for a helping hand....

    A sign of Utter Desperation.

    RT is dead.
  • More chance......

    Of selling pork pies in Riyadh
    Alan Smithie
  • " who will be flogging the devices..."

    Now I know that "flogging" can also mean "publicize aggressively," but this brings up images of Europeans with tiny whips beating the hell out of masses of whimpering Surfaces! As if they don't get enough abuse in America!

    That image just made my morning.

  • oh, ....

    So, now they want OUR help?
    Leo Regulus
    • If you give it, they will thank you in the usual way

      Throwing you under the bus. It's tradition!