Microsoft Adds IT Resellers to Expand Surface Area

Published on July 1, 2013
by John Paczkowski

ballmer_surfaceMicrosoft has settled on a new strategy to drive lackluster sales of its Surface tablet: Push the device into the enterprise channel through a handful of authorized resellers.

And so on Monday, the company announced the “Microsoft Devices Program,” which expands sales of Surface from Microsoft’s online and retail stores and big box retailers to a group of 10 Microsoft distributors and resellers — companies like Ingram Micro, CDW and PC Connection.

The program is intended to drive Surface sales into the enterprise, government and education markets by expanding the device’s availability and broadening its appeal with the addition of tech support and data protection services that resellers often provide.

For Microsoft, which has had a tougher than expected time selling Surface, this could be a good way to juice demand for the device. According to IDC, the company has sold only 900,000 Surfaces in each of its last two quarters — a particularly poor showing, considering analysts were expecting sales in the low single-digit millions.

One of the leading factors believed to be hamstringing sales? Lack of distribution. This new Microsoft Devices Program should address that issue, expanding Surface’s reach into the IT channel and making it more readily available to big customers who might want to purchase the device in bulk. That’s the theory, anyway.

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