Microsoft now allowing business customers to buy Surfaces in volume

Microsoft now allowing business customers to buy Surfaces in volume

Summary: Microsoft is allowing business customers to order Surfaces, accessories and three-year warranty plans in volume, via a new Commercial Order site.

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Microsoft has begun allowing business users to place volume orders for its Surface RT and Pro tablet/PC hybrid devices.

surfacevolume

Via a new Surface Commercial Order site, Microsoft is allowing select customers to buy Surfaces; accessories; and after-market plans.

Thanks to Andrew Allston, a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement customer, I was able to look at the new site (a screen shot of which is above). If you're not a Microsoft employee, authorized partner or volume licensee, you probably can't see this page. Instead, you'll likely see this:

surfacevolume2

"Lead times for delivery and order requirements may vary depending on inventory," the Commercial Order page notes. "If you do not currently have a volume licensing agreement with Microsoft, there may be additional processing time to setup account and credit terms."

I asked Microsoft about the new page and got a no comment from a company spokesperson. So I don't know whether Microsoft partners can order via this page. Nor do I know when this page went live. I believe "commercial customers" means business users with volume licensing contracts with Microsoft, but, again, I am not 100 percent sure, as Microsoft isn't commenting on this.

Microsoft has had problems keeping adquate quantities of its 128 GB Surface Pros in its own Microsoft Stores and in stores of the handful of retail partners it has allowed to carry the Pros, including Best Buy, Staples and Future Shop.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, Microsoft is believed to have sold a total of 1.5 million Surfaces to date -- with about 400,000 of those being Surface Pros which went on sale starting February 9, 2013. Microsoft has sold Surface Pros at retail in the U.S. and Canada only so far. Execs have said to expect broader international distribution in the "coming months."

Microsoft is also widely believed to have sold just over 1 million Surface RTs to date. Those ARM-based systems went on sale starting October 26, 2012, and have not faced the same kind of supply shortages as their Pro siblings. Many company watchers think Microsoft grossly overestimated demand for the Surface RTs and had too many built. (I, myself, prefer the Surface RT to the Pro, especially because the RT has double the battery life, but a number of business users want and need Win32 apps which cannot run on Surface RT.)

Microsoft officials have continued to decline to comment on sales figures for either/both of its Surface devices.

Surface RT and Surface Pro already both come with "at least" a one-year warranty, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to me recently. (Some countries require two-year-minimum warranty.) Microsoft also offers for purchase from Microsoft an additional "Microsoft Complete" extended service plan that is different from the base-level warranty for these devices. Complete must be purchased within 45 days of the date of device purchase.

The new Commercial site advises users of the availability of a " Surface Extended Hardware Service Plan" -- which may or may not be a variant of Microsoft Complete.

According to the new Surface Commercial Order site, "(t)his plan is available for both Surface Pro and Surface RT devices and includes an extension of the hardware warranty up to 3-years."  

More details about the three-year plan: 

"The plan includes shipping a replacement unit out prior to your product return to minimize downtime. The Extended Hardware Service Plan can be purchased up to 45 days after device purchase. For details on what is and is not covered in the Extended Hardware Service Plan for Surface devices, please see the Terms and Conditions."

The Commercial site notes that the Extended Hardware Service Plan is priced at $200 per device for Surface Pro and $150 per device for Surface RT. "At this time, the Extended Hardware Service plans are available only in the US and Canada and via direct purchase from Microsoft," according to the information on the site.

Topics: Microsoft Surface, Microsoft, IT Policies

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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15 comments
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  • interesting move...

    .....move by Microsoft. However, Microsoft needs to recheck their current commercials about the Surface. At least, Microsoft should tell its target customers what they can do with Surface rather than how they could dance with it!
    Wonder.man
    • Exactly!

      I'm not sure who Microsoft is marketing to with those ads, but they struggle to send a message.

      Dancing angry girls in school uniforms, really? Assault of the siezure inducing color changing touch covers?


      The new iPad commercials are also very bad (considering Apples past marketing efforts), but they give a clear message of what an iPad can do.
      Emacho
    • I can assure you my Surface is easier to dance with than

      The 7.8 pound HP Elitebook laptop my company has me lug around (that doesn't include the two pound power brick). :-)
      Flydog57
    • Follows thier software structure

      ... to some extent. Volume purchasing and all that - once you can get your head around their arcane agreements etc.
      I have been involved in large and very large software projects for 30 years and have been on the sidelines of massive SFT server side software sales - my company does not sell MSFT - just use it for infrastructure for our systems. MSFT have always done large company discounting and so as this is their first foray into corporate hardware they are following existing practice.
      I totaly agree on the advertsining. Even though their advertising in journals such as Managment Today, Finacial Times etc is more sober its doesn't tell teh CFO why (s)he should buy Surfaces
      Last week as part of a strategy meeting for a project they mentioned mobile, I chriped up on Surface and a decision was taken in about 30 second. 8+ Surface Pro will be part of the project.
      MSFT are doing a bad job of evangelising, but a coherent argument wins the day all the time
      sonnet37
      • Bu33er

        No edit!!
        80+ not 8+
        sonnet37
    • agreed!!

      The comercials remind me a little of the early ipod ads. But atleast the ipod was a music device. MS need to focus their ads on how to use the surface what benifits it has.
      lisport
  • Any discount?

    It comes naturally when ordering in volume.
    LBiege
  • Surface pro and rt failed as tablets

    I doubt enterprises are willing to buy many RT, and pros will be mostly to replace machines already running windows.
    As a pc maker, 1.5 million sales it's interesting, but no dent is being made on iPad or android sales. The problem is that MS could be annoying OEMs that are showing shy interest in windows tablets.
    This move it's interesting but is not going to change much.
    AleMartin
    • Surface isn't the only Windows mobile device.

      iPads and Android tablets are the precise reason PC desktop/laptop sales are declining.

      It works both ways. If someone buys a windows tablet, then odds are that is a sale lost to Apple/Android device. That goes for any of the windows based tablets, not just microsofts surface.


      I don't think RT will take off in enterprise at all or for consumers at 10.1 inches. Maybe in a smaller form factor consumers will get back into it, but why get WindowsRT when for the same price you can get a full windows tablet?

      $499 Asus vivotab smart 64GB full windows is heck of a lot cheaper than a comparable iPad or Android and it has far more functionality in the workplace.
      Emacho
  • Maybe they are just giving more kickbacks to those who purchase

    in bulk.

    Kinda like the bribery they are now being investigated for...

    http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/03/doj-sec-investigating-microsoft-over-bribery-claims/
    jessepollard
  • I Thought The Surface RT Was Not Meant For Businesses??

    Inability to join an Active Directory domain, inability to run important legacy software, inability to offer the required desktop (non-TIFKAM) interface ... what business is going to buy Surface Reduced Technology?
    ldo17
  • Microsoft now "allowing" business customers to ...

    Are you seriously telling us that Microsoft was previously REFUSING to allow business customers to buy Surfaces in volume?

    Or are you really saying that Microsoft are dropping the price to encourage business customers to buy Surfaces in volume?

    Or are you really saying that Microsoft always was allowing business customers to buy Surfaces in volume, but sending a silly press release to you was cheaper than advertising?

    Perhaps you could check the press release and update us? Thanks!

    Sheesh, we should be paid to read this twaddle.
    Heenan73
  • Maybe They Will Solve The RT Office License Issue Now

    Surface RT comes with Office Home and Student which means it is not supposed to be used for any business purpose. There are certain volume licensing plans that cover business use, but other plans that do not which makes it tough to follow the letter of the law for those with the 'wrong' plan. If they are now offering the RT in business volumes, hopefully they will overcome this issue.
    The Cars Forever
  • This Must Be A Buy-Back Program

    Full quotes for Toddy!

    "Microsoft has begun allowing business users to place volume orders for its Surface RT and Pro tablet/PC hybrid devices." - An actual fact, they've only just begun!

    "According to a recent Bloomberg report, Microsoft is believed to have sold a total of 1.5 million Surfaces to date -- with about 400,000 of those being Surface Pros which went on sale starting February 9, 2013." - Believed to be sold to re-sellers.

    "Microsoft is also widely believed to have sold just over 1 million Surface RTs to date." - Widely believed to be sold to re-sellers!

    "Microsoft officials have continued to decline to comment on sales figures for either/both of its Surface devices." - Because the device has been widely dismissed by the market!

    But isn't Microsoft BELIEVED to own the Enterprise? And if that is true, why weren't volume orders for the enterprise available from the get-go??

    The only conclusion one can make is that due to the dismal ACTUAL sales, the Best Buy's of the world are demanding that Microsoft take back these failed products that they were forced to buy in the first place. Now, with an explosion of surfaces returned to MS distribution centers, what's a Ballmer to do? BULK FIRE SALE! Can you say Zoom?

    I pity the poor surface buyers . . .
    Gr8Music
  • it better work for ms sake

    With just around 2 million combined sales and places claiming over 25% rt return rates they have to hope this works as sales like that mean massive losses. The commercials make you not want one the metro ui makes you not want it and the price makes it a pass
    Fletchguy