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Surface Pro coming to Kiwi channel

Microsoft has confirmed that New Zealand is among 28 countries where the Surface Pro will be made available for a select group of resellers to sell direct to customers, by the end of September.

Currently, Surface is available in New Zealand through retailers JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Noel Leeming, with Synnex New Zealand as the local distributor.

Commercial customers have been forced to purchase the tablets via the commercial arms of the retailers, rather than through their usual technology providers.

Microsoft's decision to sell only through the retail outlets left many local resellers feeling more than a little aggrieved – something David Rayner, Microsoft New Zealand director of consumer channels acknowledged to The Channel at the New Zealand launch of Surface Pro at the end of May.

At the launch, he noted that the company was well aware of resellers' concerns that they had been excluded from selling Surface, and that the company was working on rectifying the situation.

Speaking at Microsoft's World Partner Conference 2013 in Houston, Jon Roskill Microsoft corporate vice president for the worldwide partner group, said the company was expanding its Microsoft Devices Program, launched in the United States earlier this month.

“[The US launch of Microsoft Devices Program is] our first step into commercial distribution for the Microsoft Surface, something partners around the world have been asking me about since we first put Surface in the market last fall.

“So I'm very excited to be here today to tell you that we're taking the Microsoft Devices Program, the next phase, to 28 more countries by the end of September... Again, it's a thoughtful, phased approach of brining business customers, commercial customers, the Microsoft Surface.”

The Microsoft Devices Program, seen by many as an attempt to by Microsoft to garner some much needed sales for a device which to date has seen disappointing sales, allows customers to purchase Surface and commercial services through a limited number of authorised resellers. In the US, that means three distributors supplying 10 resellers.

While Microsoft was able to confirm New Zealand would be included in the channel expansion, a spokesperson said no more details were available.