Microsoft has provided some more details about its plans for the enterprise programme centred on its Surface tablet/laptop hybrid.
The Surface Enterprise Initiative, introduced in September 2015, allows companies like HP and Dell to sell Surface PCs alongside additional support and other services such as industry-specific applications. The scheme also makes it easier for larger organisations to buy from a single company and have the devices deployed in more than one country.
Since its launch, Microsoft has added application development deals with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton to the programme, and says it now has 10,000 companies selling Surface.
Microsoft said it will invest in supporting the scheme through new configuration and deployment services -- including imaging, asset management, provisioning, and integration services, and enhanced replacement and exchange services -- plus next-business-day delivery and onsite replacement services. The company also plans to invest in logistics and warehousing services, and new services and support tools.
Surface has been an unexpected hit for Microsoft (see chart below), and a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy PC market that has struggled to compete in the face of competition from smartphones and tablets. PC replacement cycles have also lengthened as data and applications are increasingly hosted in the cloud, which has reduced the need for high-powered client devices.
As a result, tech companies are experimenting with new ways of selling hardware: Microsoft also said that it's seeing interest in its Surface as a Service Partner programme, which effectively allows companies to lease the devices.
Distributers and resellers -- including ALSO, Tech Data, Ingram Micro, and Acrodex -- have signed up. Germany-based ALSO has signed up 300 resellers since July, while Ingram Micro is launching its Surface as a Subscription offering in October.
In Canada, Acrodex is offering the Surface as part of a bundle along with Office 365, end-user coaching, on-call support, and an online licence management portal starting at $89.95 per user per month.