Microsoft is introducing updated financing and support programs for consumers and small/mid-size businesses.
Called Surface Plus and Surface Plus for Business, the two programs are available in the US only as of noon ET on August 1. The plans can be purchased in the US Microsoft brick-and-mortar stores or online at Microsoft.com.
Students seem to be one of the primary, if not the main, target of the new Surface Plus program.
Surface Plus offers users a 24-month payment plan at zero percent APR. Customers have the option to upgrade to the latest Surface after 18 months. Customers can add the Microsoft Complete extended service plan for an additional cost.
Update: Microsoft's Surface Plus page is now live. It notes that new Surface Pros will go 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 under the plan. Payment plans are arranged with Klarna Inc.
Microsoft also seems to be replacing its Surface Membership program with "Surface Plus for Business." (I say seems because Microsoft says SMBs currently enrolled in the Surface Membership program "will now enjoy the same enterprise-grade services and support under the Surface Plus for Business Plan." Sounds like just a new name to me. I've asked Microsoft for clarification. No word back so far.)
Update: Yes, the Surface Plus for Business program is Surface Membership rebranded, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed. The long answer to my question from that spokesperson:
"Surface Membership has been in market for a year now. With the launch of Surface Plus (for consumers), Surface Membership has now been re-branded to become Surface Plus for Business. We have also made improvements to the program outlined in the latest blog post - including the addition of 55" Surface Hub, Surface Laptop, and Surface Studio, and new flexible leasing periods. We are excited to continue to offer this great program to our business customers."
The Surface Plus for Business plan includes financing for all of the different Surface device types, including a 55-inch Surface Hub.
Business users can choose 18-, 24- or 30-month financing periods, plus upgrade to newer model devices after 12 months on a 24-month deal or after 18 months on a 30-month option. It allows users to combine as many Surface devices as they want into a single agreement, mixing and matching different Surface models. And for an additional fee, business users can add Microsoft Complete for Business extended service plans with accidental damage protection coverage.
Last year, Microsoft introduced its Surface as a Service leasing program, which offered business users a way to pay to lease and upgrade Surface devices and various Microsoft cloud services. I'm also not sure how/if today's new programs relate to Surface as a Service. I have a question into Microsoft about this, as well.
Update: Surface as a Service leasing program is not going away, the spokesperson mentioned above said. More:
"Surface Plus for Business is Microsoft's version of Surface as a Service direct through Microsoft Stores to reach our small and medium business customers. Surface as a Service also encompasses our partner led motion, where our Authorized Device Distributors and Resellers can offer device leasing and financing, along with services and support, and additional Microsoft cloud solutions."