A Surface leasing scheme launched by Microsoft in the US would pose little threat to the channel if it were to be rolled out to the UK, partners here believe.
Under its Surface Membership scheme, Microsoft is directly engaging with US businesses on its website by offering them the latest Surface devices from $32.99 (£23.30) a month.
The packages – which allow firms to lease the Surface 3, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book over a period of 18, 24 or 30 months – include seven-day in-store and phone support and accident damage protection.
The scheme's launch comes after the Surface recorded its second $1bn quarter for Microsoft, with the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book driving a 61 per cent year-on-year rise in Q1 sales.
Microsoft has said Surface Membership is "designed exclusively" for US business customers, but UK partners are relaxed at the prospect of it being rolled out elsewhere.
A UK Microsoft representative couldn't confirm this one way or the other, saying: "We are always looking for ways to provide value to our customers but have nothing to announce at this time."
Chris McQuade, operations manager at Microsoft Authorised Device Reseller (ADR) PCS Business Systems, felt the package would be easy for resellers to mimic.
"Reading it though, it is just a lease agreement including the accidental warranty and a bit of phone support, which is nothing we can't offer. In fact, packaging up products with support and offering it as a service is what all resellers should be doing in order to stay ahead," he said.
"Specifically for PCS, we are not really bothered by this as we could be competitive if our customers want this, but it's not a focus for PCS. We have been very deliberate and focused on increasing our cloud and managed service business."
Kieran O'Connor, sales director at fellow ADR Total Computer Networks, questioned whether the scheme would even work in the UK.
"The UK is far more channel friendly than the States. I'd be surprised if it was rolled out here as it would upset the apple cart a little," he said.
Under the scheme, the Surface 3, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book (pictured) are available to lease from $32.99, $51.99 and $79.99 respectively.
The programme comes after Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella highlighted the increasing B2B success of the Surface.
"Certainly consumers value these devices, but where we see the strongest momentum is through adoption in the commercial space with particular strength in financial services, manufacturing and healthcare," he said on the vendor's Q1 earnings call.
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