Microsoft is ramping up its Surface Pro channel with the addition of Dell and HP as resellers.
The deal will see the multinationals competing with local resellers for sales of the devices from next year.
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft corporate vice president for the Windows and Devices Group, says the ‘expanded partnership’ with Dell kicks off Microsoft’s new Surface Enterprise Initiative, aimed at ‘bringing greater mobility and productivity to organisations to help them transform their businesses with Windows 10’.
Mehdi says Microsoft also plans to leverage its longstanding relationships with HP, Accenture and Avanade ‘to enable more customers to enjoy the benefits of Windows 10’.
Microsoft is due to roll out new enterprise capabilities for Windows 10 this month.
The deal with Dell will see Dell selling Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface accessories through its North America commercial sales organisations in the United States and Canada from early next month.
Later in the year, that will be expanded to include sales via Dell.com/work, before being rolled out to the remaining 28 markets of Microsoft’s Surface commercial channel starting in early 2016.
Surface Pro devices sold through Dell will include the option of Dell services, including hardware warranties, ProSupport and Accidental Damage Service, as well as configuration and deployment services.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft chief executive, says the deal with Dell is 'a significant advancement for our enterprise customers'.
"These customers have been asking us for partnerships like this one," he says.
Nadella says large global customers 'have been asking us to match the premium Surface product experience with the same in global delivery services and support'.
"To meet that need, Dell will sell Surface along with their world-class enterprise support and services," he adds.
Meanwhile, Mike Nash, Hewlett-Packard vice president of consumer, PC and solutions for the Printing and Personal Systems Group, says HP will be offering the Surface Pro through its direct sales force.
"Independently, we will also be offering a new set of HP Care Packs designed specifically to help customers to plan, configure, deploy and manage in enterprise environments."
Nash says the company also plans to offer mobility workflow transformation tools and services that will be available next year.
The deals will likely could local resellers revenue opportunities, removing some of the opportunity in the more lucrative commercial space, complete with professional services.
Just two months ago, Microsoft admitted it had a 'somewhat limited' business channel for Surface and customers had been asking to see more partners offering Surface. Prompted by that, Microsoft announced in July that it was opening up Surface distribution to enable more resellers to onsell the devices - some two years after the Surface first launched.
Brian Hall, Microsoft Surface general manager, said at the time that it would go from having 'a few hundred partners selling and servicing Surface to a few thousand globally in the coming months'.
“If you’re a reseller or systems integrator with strong hardware capabilities, we’re looking forward to welcoming you and we’re excited to see how Surface’s presence in the commercial space will continue to grow – with your help,” Hall said at the time.
Ironically, the move also comes as Dell, traditionally known for its direct model, steps up its efforts to be seen as more channel friendly locally, with the appointment of Ingram Micro as its distributor as it increasingly pushes sales through the reseller channel.