Microsoft Starts Pushing Surface Into the Enterprise

Let's be brutally honest, shall we? The failure of Microsoft's Surface RT and Pro platforms to catch on with consumers the way the iPad and Android tablets have isn't because Surface stinks. That would imply there's a problem with the hardware, and for the most part, there really isn't. Instead, the blame falls on Microsoft's shoulders for not properly educating the public on what these devices are, what they're capable of, and who they're intended for. Part of that is about to change.

Microsoft this week announced the initial phase of its business-channel plans for the Surface family of PCs. In short, Microsoft is targeting the enterprise in a big way by expanding its reseller and distribution network.

Surface Pro

"As part of its measured and phased approach to the growth of the Surface business, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Devices Program, which allows customers to purchase Surface and commercial services through authorized resellers. The two-tier program establishes Ingram Micro Inc., SYNNEX Corp. and Tech Data Corp. as inaugural device-authorized distributors to sell Surface to a newly designated group of device-authorized commercial resellers," Microsoft said. "Today, these resellers include CDW, CompuCom Systems Inc., En Pointe Technologies, Insight Enterprises Inc., PC Connection Inc., PCM Inc., SHI International Corp., Softchoice, Softmart and Zones Inc."

Adding more resellers to the fold may sound like a minor detail, but they come with several enticements for enterprise customers, including extended warranty and accidental damage protection. In addition, resellers offer value-added services such as asset tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling, and data protection.

In related news, Microsoft announced AppsForSure, a new Surface application development program for independent software vendors (ISVs). The new ISV program provides devices and funding for Surface-specific business apps, which Microsoft hopes will boost demand in the enterprise.