Just ahead of the release of Surface Pro 4, Microsoft is debuting two new programs aimed at making its tablet line more appealing to business users.
Microsoft will introduce in early 2016 a new warranty called Microsoft Complete for Enterprise. Complete for Enterprise is a business-focused complement to Microsoft's existing $150 Complete warranty for Surface users. (Microsoft officials said the company will go public with Complete for Enterprise pricing closer to availability.)
Complete for Enterprise -- a three-year warranty that includes coverage for accidental damage-- will allow customers to pool warranty claims by company, versus by individual devices. It will allow replace claims for devices that can no longer boot, which is useful when sensitive information cannot be recovered and requires on-premises destruction of hard drives. The business warranty also includes next-day air for fast device replacement and on-boarding support, via which Microsoft will assist IT staff and employees with initial training.
Microsoft also is adding a new, permanent trade-in program focused on business users, the Business Devices Trade-in Program, to its line-up. Via this program, which will go live "in the coming weeks," Microsoft will allow business customers to trade in older devices and apply the value of those devices toward purchase of new Surface Pro 4 units. The trade-in prices will vary. Devices that can be traded in include but are not limited to Surfaces; other PCs and tablets are applicable, as well.
These two new programs, unveiled on October 20, are part of Microsoft's Surface Enterprise Initiative. Microsoft launched the Enterprise Initiative last month, announcing that both Dell and HP would be reselling Surface Pro devices.
In July, Microsoft announced plans to expand the distribution channel for its Surface devices. Earlier this year, only a couple of hundred resellers were authorized to sell Surfaces. As of this week, there are now nearly 5,000 resellers selling Surfaces across 30 markets.
Microsoft's newest Surface, the Surface Pro 4, which ships with Windows 10 preinstalled, goes on sale on October 26, starting at $899. Microsoft officials said ten new business customers, including Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, The Carlyle Group, BNY Mellon, Land 'O Lakes, AstraZEneca, already have ordered Surface Pro 4 devices for members of their workforces.