Microsoft has insisted it will not make any announcements about its Surface channel strategy at this week's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), dashing any reseller hopes that it might be ready to expand its distribution network.
When the software giant first bought its Surface tablet to market in 2012 it sold it to businesses and consumers direct from its website or stores, leaving some channel firms miffed at being left out in the cold.
After months of reseller grumbling, Microsoft used last year's WPC to announce that the channel could finally get its hands on the device – much to partners' delight. Only a few larger resellers in selected regions were able to join the Authorised Surface Reseller pilot scheme but it was viewed as a positive first step.
Channel players hoping for similar Surface news at this year's WPC should not hold their breath, after the vendor said it has nothing new to share on its Surface channel plans.
Microsoft's vice president for global SMB Thomas Hansen ruled out a Surface channel announcement over the coming days.
"There is no news I can share around our Surface channel strategy," he told CRN. "There is nothing to announce around channel strategy or distribution strategy that is different or new here at this conference."
He went on to reiterate Microsoft's commitment to embracing a "multi-OS strategy" – during its first WPC Vision keynote, Microsoft demonstrated how its Office suite works on iPad.
"Here is the big thing: we believe our products and services offer the best experience on the Windows platform on first-party devices like Nokia or Surface or on third-party devices from our many, many awesome partners," Hansen added. "But we've embraced a multi-OS platform... we provide choice and that's positive for customers."
During the keynote presentation earlier in the week, Microsoft talked up a duo of Windows tablets which will go on sale at $99 (£58) each.
Microsoft UK's channel chief Linda Rendleman added that although the vendor is silent on its strategy, it is still working on it behind the scenes.
"Right now, I have no update on [Surface channel strategy]," she said. "We continually evaluate where we need to go from a channel perspective and should we need to in the future, we will look at it, but currently [there is] no update."
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