Microsoft on Monday announced that it would expand the availability of its Surface family of tablets to the business channel, allowing customers to purchase the devices from authorized resellers in the United States. More resellers and commercial distributors will be added internationally in the next few months.
“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,” Surface marketing director Cyril Belikoff wrote in a post to the Surface Blog. “Today we are excited to announce the next steps in our availability for commercial customers, [which includes our] channel expansion plans.”
CDW, CompuCom, En Pointe, Insight, PC Connection, PCM, Softchoice, Softmart, Software House International and Zones will all begin offering Surface RT and Surface Pro to business customers this month, Microsoft says. In addition to offering Microsoft’s extended warranty and accidental damage coverage, these authorized resellers can also offer their own value-added services like asset tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling and data protection.
The addition of authorized resellers is just the latest in a series of expansions Microsoft has made to Surface availability in 2013. As the firm notes, when the first Surface device, Surface RT, launched in October 2012, it was available only through the Microsoft Store in the US and Canada. Today, the Surface lineup is available in 29 markets and in over 10,000 physical stores around the world.
Microsoft also recently unveiled a related expansion into the educational market, with a one-time special offer that allows educational institutions to purchase Surface RT for as little as $199 through the end of August. The offer is available in 26 countries and is valid for all K-12 and universities purchasing direct from Microsoft.
“We’re excited about these announcements and what they mean for our business and education customers,” Belikoff added. “With tablets tripling in work and home by 2017 and with more mobile workers wanting a Windows tablet than any other, we see a bright future ahead for Surface.”