Microsoft Corp. is finally giving channel partners –or a select few of them, at least — a serious crack at being a Surface reseller with the launch today of a two-tiered Microsoft Devices Program serving a newly designated group of device authorized commercial resellers, according to company officials.
Sluggishly-selling Surface devices will now be available to authorized resellers from distributors Ingram Micro Inc., Synnex Corp. and Tech Data Corp. The key word here being “authorized”; for the moment, Microsoft is limiting Surface reseller efforts mostly to DMRs that the company feels are “fully engaged and ready to deliver compelling solutions with Microsoft devices, including Surface, to their respective commercial customers.”
In a blog post announcing the new Surface reseller program, Jenni Flinders, vice president of Microsoft’s U.S. partner group, writes that, when she was approached about moving Redmond’s fondle slabs through the channel, “I knew that our partners and the US Partner Team were ready to make this a reality.”
“Bringing Surface Pro and Surface RT to the U.S. commercial channel greatly extends the reach of our devices-and-services strategy, delivering our family of devices enabled by cloud services to more organizations than ever before,” writes Flinders. “We look forward to working closely with our Microsoft Devices Program partners to better serve their commercial customers.”
So far, authorized resellers include CDW, CompuCom Systems Inc., En Pointe Technologies, Insight Enterprises, Inc., PC Connection Inc., PCM Inc., Softchoice, Softmart, SHI International Corp., and Zones Inc.
“Our induction into the Microsoft Devices Program is an opportunity to bridge the gap in enterprise mobility initiatives, specifically providing a secure, enterprise class device that has consumer appeal,” said Bob Bogle, senior vice president of sales at system integrator En Pointe Technologies. “By utilizing our industry experience and vast customer reach, we can help strengthen and expand Microsoft’s mobility and devices to commercial customers of all sizes. We are excited to participate in this program, as it further demonstrates our commitment to serving the needs of customers relying on Microsoft devices and services.”
While the authorized Surface reseller cadre remains an elite group, Flinders writes that, in future iterations of the Microsoft Devices Program, “we will begin activating more partners to sell Microsoft devices.”
Surface Reseller Program Elusive
Becoming a Surface reseller has been elusive for most in the channel. Since the first Surface devices were unveiled in October of last year, solution providers have been clamoring to become Surface resellers. By releasing the homegrown tablet to the channel, Microsoft may finally accelerate sales and expand market share against Apple Inc. and Google Inc.
But offering discounted product to partners is an old trick by Microsoft to spur market development for new products. Microsoft wants partners to adopt all its new products as much as resell them.