Looking to expand its Surface sales and brand, Microsoft announced today two programs aimed at business buyers: one that allows customers to purchase Surface tablets and commercial services through authorized resellers, and a second that allows independent software vendors to develop apps for Surface.
The Microsoft Devices Program allows a set of distributors to sell Surface to certain commercial resellers, who usually include their own value-added services to the devices. Those resellers, as of now, are: CDW, CompuCom Systems, En Pointe Technologies, Insight Enterprises, SHI International, Softchoice, Softmart, PC Connection, PCM and Zones.
“Today’s announcement means that business customers, which include government and education, can purchase Surface through these channel partners,” Jenni Flinders, vice president of Microsoft’s U.S. Partner Business, said in a press call Monday morning.
In addition, the AppsForSurface program provides devices and funding for independent software vendors who want to develop business apps for Surface.
Microsoft has never revealed sales figures for the Surface and did not do so during this morning’s press call. Flinders said only that “the response to Surface from customers has been super exciting” and that the programs being announced today are “to cope with the demand we’re seeing from customers.”
Reports and analysts’ estimates have surmised that sales, particularly of the Surface RT, have not met the company’s internal expectations. In launching its programs for business buyers, Microsoft characterized its growth plans for Surface as a “measured and phased approach.”
Part of that growth also involved an offer announced in June for schools and universities in 26 countries to buy Surface RT tablets starting at $199 until the end of August. Microsoft says that education offer can be redeemed, starting July 15, at the U.S. Surface resellers named above.