The same week it launched a new financing program for Xbox, Microsoft is shutting down its Surface financing program for consumers. And -- surprise -- today, August 31, is the day the program is ending.
As first reported by OnMSFT.com, Microsoft posted a notice on its Surface Plus information page noting that the company has decided to end new enrollments to the Surface Plus Program, starting August 31, 2018. There's a brief statement to that effect on the Surface Plus page:
"Microsoft is ending new enrollment into the Surface Plus Program, financed by Klarna, starting August 31st, 2018."
A Surface Plus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) explains what happens to those already enrolled in the program. (Short answer: Nothing -- those enrolled continue with payments, etc., as planned.)
The business version of this program, known as Surface Plus for Business, doesn't seem to be shutting down -- at least based on its web page.
Microsoft introduced Surface Plus financing programs for both consumers and small/mid-size businesses SMBs on August 1, 2017. Students seemed to be one of the primary targets of the consumer program.
Via Surface Plus, new Surface Pros could be purchased for $34 per month for 24 months; Surface Laptops for $42 per month for 24 months; and Surface Books for $63 per month for 24 months. Payment plans were arranged with Klarna Inc., which offered a 24-month payment plan at zero APR.
I've asked Microsoft why it decided to shut down the Surface Plus program. No word back so far.
Update (September 4): Microsoft isn't saying why the consumer Surface Plus program was dropped. A spokesperson provided the following statement:
"We are always looking for ways to improve the Microsoft Store shopping experience and provide our customers with the best options to meet their needs. While we have nothing to share at this time, we will continue to provide our Surface Plus customers with the same level of service and support that we extend to all of our customers. These changes will not impact Surface Plus for Business customers."
I'm wondering whether Microsoft may be moving Surface Plus financing to another financier, such as Dell Preferred, which is the company behind the Xbox All Access financing program. Or maybe Microsoft is going to bring Surfaces under the rumored "Microsoft Managed Desktop" and/or Windows 10 device-as-a-service umbrella and offer students a chance to finance various Windows 10 devices, including Surfaces, via that route?
Microsoft seems to be trying to grow the Surface market by making its devices more affordable to a broader range of customers, so I'd think some sort of financing plan would be part of the strategy....