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Microsoft debuts “Surface as a Service” program aimed at getting devices into the enterprise

TechCrunch TechCrunch 12/07/2016 Sarah Perez

Microsoft announced this morning a new program aimed at expanding Surface’s footprint in the enterprise, dubbed “Surface as a Service.” The initiative will allow businesses to lease Surface devices, alongside subscriptions to Office 365 and Windows 10. The company says this will allow customers to benefit from access to the latest hardware as well as faster device refresh cycles.

Surface has been a growing business at Microsoft, the company also notes, having grown in the past year from generating $1 billion in revenue per year to $1 billion per quarter.

More recently, Microsoft has been focusing on expanding Surface beyond the consumer market. Last fall, for example, it partnered with Dell and HP to sell the Surface hardware through its commercial sales organization. Today, it announced two more partnerships with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton, who will now join the lineup of Surface resellers.

IBM will deliver industry-specific solutions for the financial services and consumer packaged goods sectors that take advantage of Surface’s unique hardware capabilities, Microsoft says, while Booz Allen Hamilton will focus on solutions for government, the public sector and healthcare.

The new “Surface as a Service” program is meant to offer a different way of bringing the device into the enterprise, beyond these traditional reseller programs. Details were light on how the subscription service will work, but it will be made available to Cloud Solution Providers who are also Surface Authorized Distributors.

The program is initially being launched with ALSO, a Cloud Solution Provider in Europe, but Microsoft says it will expand the program worldwide.

For organizations with Surface as a Service, the benefit of the subscription service is that their devices will always get updated with the latest releases of Windows 10 and Office 365.

The program’s launch also follows the recent unveiling a Surface Membership program, which lets consumers buy Surface devices by making low monthly payments. The plan was also aimed at businesses, not consumers, and offered access to Surface Book, Surface Pro 4 and Surface 3 models. It included free upgrades when new models became available.

In addition to the subscription service, and new Surface resellers, Microsoft also adding CDW, SHI, Insight, and Zones to its Surface Multi-National Purchasing Program. That makes it easier for businesses to put Surface devices and accessories on their company-wide purchasing lists with the resellers.

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