Microsoft has gathered the support of two major OEMs to help popularize its Surface tablet in the enterprise.
In October, Dell will begin offering Surface Pro tablets and related accessories through its commercial sales unit in the United States and Canada. The program, part of what Microsoft is calling the Surface Enterprise Initiative, will expand into Dell's business-themed online store later this year and then to the other 28 markets where Surface is sold in 2016. As noted in a Sept. 8 announcement, Surface Pros—which are due for a refresh soon and may face competition from Apple's rumored iPad Pro—will be offered alongside Dell's own slate of Windows tablets.
In a press statement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted that the partnership helps plug in a gap in the company's business tablet strategy. "Our global enterprise customers have asked us to match the Surface Pro 3 and Windows 10 experience with enterprise-grade support and services—and our partnerships like this one with Dell will do just that," he said.
In an online video that the companies posted on YouTube, Dell CEO Michael Dell pointed to Windows 10's strong start and his company's readiness to help its customers "make the transition to Windows 10 as easy as possible." He said: "Commercial customers interested in the Surface Pro can now benefit from Dell's broad infrastructure, including industry-leading services and support, especially and importantly, including our ProSupport service, managed deployment and configuration services."
Microsoft has also enlisted another major OEM, namely Hewlett-Packard.
Mike Nash, vice president of product management for HP Consumer PCs, revealed in a blog post yesterday that his company had also joined Microsoft's Surface Enterprise Initiative and would begin "offering the Surface Pro 3 through the HP direct sales force." The Surface will also be available via bundles of hardware, software and support services called HP Care Packs, he added.
As for the effect on HP's portfolio of business tablets, Nash hinted that his company, too, will continue to offer its own hardware.
HP's current lineup includes devices "like the HP Elite X2 1011, HP Pro X2 210, HP Pro X2 612 and HP Pavilion X2 that recently launched," he wrote. "And while I am not here to announce any new products today, I can suggest that you continue to watch this space."
Meanwhile, participants of the Windows Insider early-access program will soon get to test some of the new enterprise capabilities Microsoft plans to release later this year, said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group.
"For the first time, enterprises can experience features like Enterprise Data Protection (EDP), which provides personal and corporate data protection wherever data flows," stated Mehdi in a separate Sept. 8 announcement. Microsoft also plans to enable its password-less secure login technology called Passport and the Windows Store for Business, "which delivers business customers a unified Windows app store experience, including a choice of Windows store apps alongside company-owned apps, and allows IT administers to acquire apps in bulk."