Microsoft has launched a number of channel-friendly initiatives for its Surface products, boasting that more than 5,000 partners are now able to sell the devices.
In a blog post published this afternoon, Microsoft unveiled details of a new trade-in scheme resellers can take advantage of to upgrade their customers' Surface slabs.
The Business Device Trade-In Programme allows partners the chance to upgrade customers' tablets so they remain up to date on a permanent basis. Similar schemes tend to be for a limited time only.
"Many customers have told us that they want to upgrade to Surface and Windows 10, but have invested in devices and need to maximise the value they receive from those assets," said Microsoft's senior director Cyril Belikoff. "With 24-hour quotes, prepaid shipping labels and secure data wipe, business customers can trade their used business laptops, tablets, and phones for credit towards the purchase of new Surface devices."
The UK will be among the first tranche of territories to be able to use the scheme, along with the US, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Germany, France and Switzerland.
The trade-in scheme is one of a number of tweaks Microsoft is making to its Surface distribution strategy, and marks a stark contrast to its initial go-to-market plans in which the channel was used only sparingly. At its Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando this year, Microsoft announced plans to increase the number of global Surface resellers from hundreds to thousands, and its relations with the channel on the device have improved somewhat since.
From the start of next year, Microsoft is bringing in an enterprise warranty scheme for the channel specifically around the Surface device. Microsoft Complete for Enterprise allows partners to pool warranties by company, instead of doing it on an individual basis, and offering a "rapid replace" scheme for when devices need to be swapped.
Microsoft boasted a number of customer wins for the Surface, including the University of Central Lancashire, Sheffield Hallam University, Brighton College International, AstraZeneca and Clifford Chance in the UK.
"The response from these early Surface Pro 4 business customers has been exciting to see," Belikoff said. "With the breadth coverage across our channel... we're in a position to deliver on customer demand in ways that have never been done before. We couldn't be more excited for the next few months and are looking forward to welcoming more and more customers to the Surface family."
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