Surface announces availability in U.S. channel, commercial app partnerships and an education offer

Surface announces availability in U.S. channel, commercial app partnerships and an education offer

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We’ve had a LOT of interest from businesses, schools and universities wanting to use Surface Pro as their primary PC and Surface RT as a productive tablet for work. Today, we are excited to announce the next steps in our availability for commercial customers – channel expansion plans, a new commercial app partnership program, and an update on our existing offer to help transform education.

Less than a year ago, we launched Surface in eight markets, with only three having physical stores. Surface is now available in 29 markets and in 10,000+ physical stores around the world.

We are humbled by the feedback from people so far. A JD Power & Associates 2013 tablet survey found just 20 percent of people today use their tablets for business. Surface is changing that by being THE most productive tablet! Since launch, it’s been exciting to talk to people who tell us they are using their Surface just as much as their previous tablet for things like entertainment and gaming; however, they are spending more time on productivity tasks like Skype/Lync calls, email, working in the Office apps, and sharing their work with others. The Bestbuy.com and Amazon.comreviews and ratings are telling.

For example, Dr. Nick Patel from Palmetto Health in South Carolina is using the Surface in his medical practice in conjunction with the newly installed Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. Patel started seeing the benefits as soon as he began using the device. He believes it provides better efficiency and, most importantly, gives him more face-to-face time with his patients. Once he discovered the device worked well for him, he began sharing his experience with other physicians in his practice. Similarly, Marcus Bluestein the CTO of Kraft Kennedyin New York recommends Surface for lawyers who care about mobility.

Recently, we shared how Surface RT gets better for businesses with the Windows 8.1 update, including security and management enhancements, as well as the inclusion of Outlook. We’ve taken a measured and phased approach to the growth of the Surface business in order to meet customer demand and partner expectations, and today’s announcements are the logical next step in ongoing availability and adoption of Surface for our business customers.

Available from resellers. Today, we’re announcing the first phase of our expansion into the business channel that allows customers to purchase Surface and commercial services through authorized resellers. Customers can begin to buy in the USwith the following Authorized Surface Resellers: CDW, CompuCom Systems, Inc., En Pointe Technologies, Insight Enterprises, Inc., SHI International Corp., Softchoice, Softmart, PC Connection, Inc., PCM, Inc. and Zones Inc.. In addition to offering Microsoft’s extended warranty and accidental damage, resellers bring a variety of additional value-added services to the Surface family, such as asset tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling and data protection. Over the next few months, we will be working to authorize commercial distributors and resellers in more countries.

Work apps for Surface.Business users love that Surface runs Office and that Surface Pro runs existing Windows 7 desktop apps. This allows them to really embrace Surface as a two-in-one device and move seamlessly between tablet and laptop experiences. We're also working with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to develop Windows store apps that make Surface more useful when touch is the interface of choice – work that also benefits the Windows ecosystem as a whole. Today, we’re announcing a new ISV program, called AppsForSurface, which provides devices and funding for app design intended to get key enterprise apps on Surface and Window 8. We have limited slots for this program, and ISVs that are already signed up include AirStrip, Citrix, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Sage. Today’s blog is the first time we are sharing Airstrip’s commitment to building Windows Store apps, and we’re excited to have them on board, as they are a powerhouse in the healthcare industry. Stay tuned for updates as we add more ISVs to this program.

Surface gets good grades with education. We’ve been really excited by the response we’re getting to Surface from students and educators. From Qatar to Australia to Illinois, Surface is making a real difference by being a great tablet with Office. In June, we announced a one-time offer for Surface RT starting at $199 for qualifying educational institutes running until the end of August in 26 countries, valid for all K-12 and universities purchasing direct from Microsoft. In the coming weeks, we will expand this into the commercial channel, starting with Authorized Surface Resellers in the US. Microsoft has a long tradition with education, and this offer is intended to get Surface in the hands of even more educators and students. Taili and Chris are examples of how Surface is the perfect device for students on campus. We hope this offer helps ‘spread the love’ to this important audience we’ve always been connected with.

We’re excited about these announcements and what they mean for our business and education customers. As is often said, this is the beginning of the beginning, and we see a bright future ahead for Surface.

For more details about Surface in business, please go to surface.com/business.

Thanks,

Cyril Belikoff

Director: Microsoft, Surface

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why should I buy from an authorized reseller?

A: These resellers can sell to our commercial, education and public sector customers but not consumers or retailers. In addition to offering Microsoft’s extended warranty and accidental damage, these resellers bring a variety of additional value added services to the Surface family including asset tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling and data protection.

Q: Do you have distributors?

A: There is a two-tier model for the Surface commercial channel. Ingram Micro Inc., SYNNEX Corporation and Tech Data Corporation are our distributors in the US. These distributors will resell Surface to the Authorized Surface Resellers.

Q: Who should I contact to buy Surface?

A: Commercial, education and public sector customers in the US can buy today from the resellers we announced. Over the next few months, we will be working to authorize commercial distributors and resellers in more countries. For those markets where we do not have resellers yet, customers can order from our commercial order website – www.surface.com/commercialorder

Q: How do I get into the AppsForSurface program? Are these apps exclusive to Surface?

A1: We’re excited to already have tremendous interest and enthusiasm from some of the leading ISVs and power houses in their respective industries. We announced specific organizations that are a part of this program today and will have more to share as this program develops in the coming months. If you are interested in participating, please send your details and ideas to appsforsurface@microsoft.com

A2: While we are building partnerships with key app developers to improve the touch experience on Surface, this is work that will benefit with broader Windows ecosystem and Windows 8 devices. These apps will work across all Windows 8 or 8.1 devices.

Q: Where can I get more details about the education offer?

A: Earlier this month, we announced the availability of Surface RT devices at a reduced price for a limited time. The offer runs through August 31, 2013. See our education blogfor more details and how to buy.

Q: I heard that Outlook will be available on Surface RT. Can I start using it now?

A: Yes, you can get the Windows 8.1Preview today. Office 2013 RT will be installed with the Windows 8.1 Preview on your Surface RT.

Q: Where do I get more details about Windows 8.1 Preview?

A: Please see the Windows blogfor more details.

Q: Does Microsoft have plans to offer a 256GB Surface to commercial customers in the U.S.?

A: Yes, there will be limited availability of a 256GB version of Surface Pro in the U.S. exclusively to our business customers through the commercial channel and the authorized Surface resellers. The resellers that are part of this initial phase of commercial expansion for Surface are great at working with their customers to develop unique solutions to meet their unique business needs, including where it makes sense, the option for a 256GB Surface Pro. As reflected in today's announcement, we're committed to our business, public sector and education customers, and are happy to be increasing Surface availability through the commercial channel.

9 Comments
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  • Durvivor
    1 Posts

    Its been a few weeks now, are you able to expand on what you meant by "this offer is intended to get Surface in the hands of even more educators and students"

  • JorgeLH
    1 Posts

    As a student I'd like to know if there's a way to adquire a Surface applying the discount mentioned above but directly with Microsoft. I find very difficult convince the University where I study to make an order.

    Also, it'd be nice a similar offer with the Surface Pro.

    AndyM
    1 Posts

    My Universe already talked to Microsoft(Germany) and they said, that it is not mentioned to "resell" the Surface to Students or Teachers. It MUST BE used only for education... (original words of MS-Germany!(translated))

    In my opinion this was not more than a cheap advertisement trick - so Microsoft could say "we Support Students and Teachers" :( But sadly they do not :'(

    (Surface Pro is the best device for students so far... but it's just not affordable for them :/ )

  • KevinC
    1 Posts

    Any news on a new promotion like the free touch cover one from last month?

    I can't believe i missed it because i'm about to buy a tablet within 2 weeks.

    If no promotion i'm sorry but it wil not be a surface, i don't think it's worth the same money as an ipad.

    Btw: i agree with AndyM.

  • x4m
    1 Posts

    Hi!

    I'm software developer from Russia. I had bought Surface Pro in April in US, it's kind of important for me to have such tools...

    Right after arriving to Russia, my surface bricked. "Secure boot loader loop". Only replacement can help.

    I've called to support many times and they keep telling me: "Wait for official release in Russian Federation, it's gonna be soon. We will replace your unit right after release." (at the end of a May, then by the end of a June, now - somewhere in July, or,perhaps, August etc).

    It was frustrating when device bricked after couples days of usage. But now...well..I'm not proficient in English enough to describe how angry I feel about this Surface....

  • AndyM
    1 Posts

    Just  a short question: Why is MS still doing this "America's first - so screw you, Rest of the world" - thing?

    Nearly every other big Company like Apple, Google, samsung and so on is able to Release products and  make offers simultanius starting WORLDWIDE. Why Not you, Microsoft? :(

    MS's loosing A LOT of customers this way of "two-class-society"thinking.

    The World is much bigger than tiny little USA...

    Andy --- you do realize how long Apple has been selling computers worldwide, right?  Microsoft is just getting started with a phased approach and this is a new product for them - you can't compare a PC-based product to software/licensing and Xbox's.  I'm sure in the future they will release Surface products more simultaneously --- they have done so with say the Xbox but that's been out for quite some time and they have the worldwide distribution channel established for that.

    The other thing they need to figure out is the support structure which is different for commercial customers than it is for retail customers.  Lenovo for example has a great onsite/warranty support structure (at least in the US) and is different than the level of support for their consumer/retail based line of products.  And they need to have that game plan lined up for each country.

    So I wouldn't say that Microsoft is playing a "screw the rest of the world" attitude --- they have been fairly damn global but what do you want them to do if they're not ready?  Wait until 2014 when they can get 100 countries ready to rock'n roll to support the distribution and support of commercial customers before launching Surface to commercial resellers?

    For the past 10+ years - I've seen cool cameras come out in Japan and not seen in the US.  I've seen top-notch slick cellphones in the past that have come out in Europe but never to be seen in the US because they couldn't bother to tweak a version to work in the US.  So come on, give MS a break if we want to talk about companies being fair.    

  • M$ has a lot of nerve announcing this as a Channel play. There is no mention in the article of allowing any partners other than these select LARS being able to resell Surface period. It only mentions opening up in other countries. Don't try to tell us that M$ "announces availability in U.S. channel". It is a lie. Do the math, only .0000083% of the "Channel" can sell this product. Please take this story down or rename the headline M$ screws Channel again!

  • AndrewInWA
    2 Posts

    ...and when will this occur in Australia? I am STILL advising all my corporate clients to purchase competing products as the Surface Pro has no channel support and I cannot sell them, as I have been doing since it's "retail only" release.

    This U.S. roll out is phase one of our effort to allow customers to buy Surface through the hardware providers with which they are already working. As with our retail channel, we are taking a measured approach to this and will begin with the U.S. starting today and then expand to other markets in the coming months.

    WaltFrench
    2 Posts

    <i>“Today, we are excited to announce …channel expansion plans, a new commercial app partnership program, and an update on our existing offer to help transform education.”</i>

    Wow, color-by-numbers, fresh-out-of-B-school hype marketing for a product whose most exciting new feature is a 1980s “Start Menu.”

    Hope that excitement carries you for the couple of weeks until the numbers come in. I can see why Microsoft wants to make Windows look modern and trendy; I just can't think of more than a few people who want the “power” (complexity) of Windows in a device for quick jots of connectivity that most people use mobile devices for.

    AndrewInWA
    2 Posts

    As a reseller and Microsoft partner, this is very disappointing. I have been fielding many inquiries on this product and have been forced to advise my clients to purchase competing products. I can't endorse purchasing products which I cannot sell and which do not have channel support. Microsoft and myself have missed out on very many sales because of this. Can you please answer each of these questions: Why can the Surface Pro not be available through Ingram Micro or Synnex (or other suppliers) in Australia NOW? Why yet another long wait for several more months when there is already stock being shipped to Australia for JbHiFi and Harvey Norman? Why can you not commit to an actual date instead of providing answers like "in the coming months"? Will the Surface Pro be able to be resold by any reseller or will there be some kind of process to go through to become an authorised reseller? Will the 256gb model be available, and if not, why not? When will there be a definitive answer regarding availability / existence of a keyboard accessory which has an extra battery, and can support and pivot the device (as eluded to in Reddit AMA)?

  • jakeose
    1 Posts

    And you do realize that many of the tech staff for small/medium districts are now gone for the summer..........

  • yaksplat
    2 Posts

    Allow educators to purchase their own surface tablets at a discount.

    There is a current Surface offer specifically for educators. You can read more about it in this post on the Microsoft in Education blog: blogs.technet.com/.../it-s-true-we-re-putting-surface-rt-in-the-hands-of-educators-and-students-schools-and-universities.aspx

    yaksplat
    2 Posts

    That appears to be for the institutions to purchase and not an individual educator.  Did I miss something?

    I placed an order on June 21, and email it to SurfaceEDU@microsoft.com and as of today July 1, 2013 I have not heard or gotten any type of reply.  Have sent numerous emails to ask about my order and have not gotten any replies.

    Thanks for your e-mail and your comment. We’re sorry to hear that you’re waiting on a response. The offer has proved to be extremely popular and our team is working through the e-mails and orders we’ve received as quickly as possible.  We are sending auto responses to recent orders and inquiries to improve the customer experience while we work through the backlog.

    AndyM
    2 Posts

    Just  a short question: Why is MS still doing this "America's first - so screw you, Rest of the world" - thing?

    Nearly every other big Company like Apple, Google, samsung and so on is able to Release products and  make offers simultanius starting WORLDWIDE. Why Not you, Microsoft? :(

    MS's loosing A LOT of customers this way of "two-class-society"thinking.

    The World is much bigger than tiny little USA...