Microsoft is countering Apple's iPad Pro and plans to target Corporate America with its main assets in the enterprise---distribution and partners.
Mary Jo Foley reported that Dell and HP will resell Microsoft's Surface and supplement them with enterprise services and apps. Avanade/Accenture will build new Windows 10 business apps under the guise of the Surface Enterprise Initiative. Microsoft execs also hinted that more distribution deals are in the offing.
If you size up the Surface partnership players only Accenture can play the multiplatform game. HP, Dell and Microsoft all need the Windows ecosystem to thrive.
Apple's long-awaited iPad Pro is expected to be revealed Wednesday. According to 9to5Mac, the iPad Pro will have a 12.9-inch display and a keyboard and stylus sold separately.
If the iPad Pro sounds a bit like the Surface that's because the two devices rhyme.
More importantly, the enterprise will be choosing a platform as well as a device. As noted before, the iPad Pro isn't a slam dunk for corporations. In many respects, the Macbook may be a better choice. Meanwhile, corporations want either laptops or 2-in-1 devices. Apple's challenge will be pitch the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement. Microsoft has made that argument with the Surface for years.
However, the Windows ecosystem can't afford to let Apple via OS X or iOS dominate the enterprise app discussion.
Accenture's role in the Surface partnership is to create industry specific applications that are unique to Microsoft's tablet/laptop. Sound familiar? The Accenture-Microsoft partnership rhymes with the Apple-IBM deal.
Microsoft's Surface distribution barrage aims to make it easier for enterprises to support the device. HP and Dell will deliver support. Accenture will integrate.
The bet here is that corporations will stick with the platform they've already bet on---Windows. Now that Windows 10 has landed and enterprises are likely to see it as a screen unification tool you're going to see more Microsoft partnerships similar to the one it cut with Dell and HP. The enterprise isn't the consumer market. Distribution may matter more.