Microsoft has finally broken its silence on its tablet channel strategy and announced that 10 US VARs will be able to sell the devices – with more countries to be included in the plan soon.
The vendor would not reveal when UK VARs can get their hands on its Surface devices, but did say that over the next few months, it will be working to authorise more disties and resellers in more countries.
In the US, Insight, CDW, SHI International, CompuCom Systems, En Pointe Technologies, Softchoice, Softmart, PC Connection, PCM and Zones are the chosen resellers alongside distributors Tech Data, Ingram Micro and Synnex.
Insight's president Ken Lamneck said there is a "tremendous market opportunity" for tablets in the business space.
Microsoft released its first Surface tablet – the RT – in the run-up to Christmas last year, with its business-focused Pro device coming shortly after.
Since their release, UK VARs have been desperate to know whether they will be included in the vendor's go-to-market strategy, but until now, Microsoft has refused to comment. Today, it claimed it had received a lot of interest from businesses, schools and universities and said it had been humbled by feedback so far.
As part of its channel strategy, VARs will be able to offer extended warranties and accidental damage cover as well to sell extra value-added services such as tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling and data protection.
In a statement, Microsoft said: "We are 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."
As part of its Surface channel strategy, Microsoft announced a new ISV programme, AppsForSurface, which provides devices and funding for app designers in an effort to get key enterprise apps on the devices and its Windows 8 OS. Citrix and Sage are among those to have signed up already.
In June, the software giant announced it was offering the Surface RT device for $199 (£131) to qualifying educational institutes if they purchased direct, but today unveiled plans to open this up to the channel too. In the coming weeks, Microsoft will allow its Authorised Surface resellers in the US the chance to get in on the deal. It claimed it hopes the move will help "spread the love" to the education sector.
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