Microsoft and e-commerce and mobile payments specialist PayPal want to help make the cash register a thing of the past for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and merchants.
With the National Retail Federation's Big Show conference in New York City as a backdrop, the company announced new products that leverage the Surface Pro 3's laptop-like performance and its tablet form factor to help business run their operations and accept payments.
"Laptops remain important to small-business retailers to handle inventory, supply, customer relationship information and accounting," Cyril Belikoff, senior director of Microsoft Surface, said in a statement. "At the same time, they have quickly realized that tablets can enable new engagement models with their customers—personalized interactions and commerce untethered from a cash register."
Echoing Microsoft's tagline for the Surface Pro 3, "The tablet that can replace your laptop," Belikoff said that small retailers no longer need to choose between the two. "So up until now, they were forced to buy two devices—an iPad for transacting and a laptop for operations. Today that changes."
With such a scenario in mind, Microsoft and PayPal are readying new point-of-sale (POS) solutions for small businesses, beginning with the new PayPal Here credit card reader and Windows 8.1 app for Surface.
"Later this year, a new PayPal Here app for Windows 8.1 will be available to customers in the United States through the Windows Store," announced Belikoff. "With the new app, small businesses can easily track sales, manage inventory and accept all forms of payments, all from a single Windows device."
A Windows Phone version of the PayPal Here app is also in the works, he said.
Brad Brodigan, vice president and general manager of PayPal retail, wrote in a blog post that "select small businesses can now accept credit card, debit card and PayPal transactions using the Windows platform—via the PayPal Here SDK and, very soon, the PayPal Here app."
Surface's accessory ecosystem for retailers is also growing bigger. "Surface accessory partners, such as Anthro, ArmorActive, Heckler Design and ProClip USA, are unveiling new fixed and portable enclosures in a range of form factors and colors," stated Belikoff. "These accessories give our small-business customers the right tools for their job, and we couldn't be more excited to see more and more world-class partners developing solutions for Surface."
Microsoft also announced that it is gearing up to offer all-in-one Surface-PayPal solutions through its own retail stores and channel partners.
"Later this year in the U.S., small-business retailers will be able to purchase the complete POS solution including Surface, the PayPal Here app and card reader and specific point-of-sale hardware accessories through commercial resellers, Microsoft Retail Stores and select partner retail locations," said Belikoff.