Microsoft's Surface tablet is available significantly cheaper direct from the vendor than through some of its newly appointed resellers, it has emerged.
Last week, the vendor finally announced that nine UK resellers - Misco, SCC, Softcat, Insight, Kelway, Phoenix Software, Computacenter, CCS Media and SoftwareONE - would be part of its Devices programme and able to sell the tablets.
It is unclear when the designated group will be able to start shipping the devices, but some resellers have priced the tablets higher than Microsoft's current pricing.
According to a Misco price list seen by CRN, the VAR is offering the 32GB RT tablet at £300 including VAT, while Microsoft's price, also including tax, is just £279, some eight per cent lower. The 64GB RT tablet is going for £400 with VAT at Misco, some 11 per cent dearer than the £359 price tag Microsoft attaches to the same tablet (also inclusive of VAT).
A call into CCS Media's sales team revealed the VAR is offering the 32GB version for £296.34, including VAT, and the 64GB version for £386.40, including VAT.
CRN understands that Microsoft is reviewing the channel prices of its RT tablets and that they are expected to come down within the next few weeks, but the vendor said it had "nothing to share" when contacted for comment.
Until today, Insight was listing the RT tablets at similarly inflated prices - £299.99 and £375.59 (both including VAT) for the 32GB and 64GB versions, respectively. However, the VAR has now modified those prices so they are in line with Microsoft's, with a representative telling us the original pricing was a mistake stemming from "corrupt data in the upload file which has now been corrected". Insight is now offering the 32GB and 64GB versions for £279 and £358.79, respectively, including VAT.
Misco declined to comment, while CCS Media was unavailable for comment as we went to press.
Microsoft partner NCI Technologies' managing director Andy Trish queried what the point of buying a more expensive tablet from resellers is.
"I don't see the value of purchasing from a reseller if it is at the same cost as from the vendor, especially where there is no added value. I would be more likely to buy it from someone who is cheaper - it's the same product.
"If Microsoft has a reseller model where the resellers sells it at the same price or more, then what is the point?"
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