Microsoft isn't giving up on its home-grown tablet, according to CEO Satya Nadella.
Overshadowed by his controversial comments concerning women's pay on Oct. 9, remarks from Microsoft's chief executive reaffirmed the company's continued support of the Surface, even if he is striking a more business-oriented tone. "We believe a strength of the Microsoft platform for enterprise is the rich ecosystem of hardware and applications developed by our partners, the community at large and some of our own teams at Microsoft," he said in a statement.
His company is focusing its attention on business users, as made clear by this year's surprise launch of a new Surface Pro. "In particular with Microsoft Surface Pro 3, we are now offering an enterprise-class device that can deliver great end-user productivity," continued Nadella.
"Microsoft is putting its full and sustained support behind the ongoing Surface program as one of a number of great hardware choices for businesses large and small," he added.
Defying expectations, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant unveiled the Surface Pro 3 on May 20 in New York City. Instead of the long-rumored Surface Mini, Nadella and Panos Panay, head of Microsoft's Surface division, debuted a 12-inch Windows tablet aimed at businesses.
Jack Gold, principal analyst at IT research firm J. Gold Associates, suggested at the time that "targeting the high end of the enterprise market with full Windows compatibility across all apps is an area where Microsoft can win and it doesn't need to sell tens of millions of this device to be successful." After being stung by flagging Surface sales, Microsoft is taking that outlook to heart—and the bank.
Some Major brands, including BMW, Coca-Cola, Louis Vuitton and Lotus F1, have deployed the tablet, according to Microsoft Surface General Manager Brian Hall. In June, the company reported that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was in the process of handing out 2,000 Surface Pro 3 tablets.
"Most businesses are buying Surface when their employees need a laptop and want to avoid having to buy and carry an iPad, too," wrote Hall in a blog post. "One device means less to buy, deploy, manage and secure. Surface Pro 3 is for work."
To help sustain that momentum, Microsoft is redoubling its efforts to appeal to IT managers. "With Surface Pro 3, we've already made all firmware and drivers available for IT to use to create their corporate image" in addition to maintaining a Surface Pro 3 update history support page, said Hall. A newly-launched extended warranty program, called Microsoft Complete for Business, covers the device for three years and provides set-up support, accidental damage protection and an expedited exchange service.
Moreover, Surface Pro 3 owners won't be left behind when Windows 10 is released next year. Hall pledged that the "Surface Pro 3 will continue to support Windows 8.1 and, of course, be upgradeable when Windows 10 is released."