Microsoft announced at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, that it was introducing a new service called “Surface as a Service” that would allow businesses to lease Surface devices to people alongside subscriptions of Windows 10 and Office 365.
Surface as a Service seeks to expand Microsoft’s very successful Surface business which has risen from generating $1 billion a year to $1 billion a quarter according to the boys at Redmond, Washington. The service will be offered with subscriptions of the Windows 10 OS and the Office 365 software and will include free upgrades to the software as well as access to the latest hardware.
The details are a bit fuzzy on how the service will be made available to Enterprises but this much is certain that it will be made available to Cloud Solution Providers who are also Surface Authorized Distributors. The first to launch the program will be a Cloud Solution Provider in Europe called ALSO.
Microsoft expanded its sales network last year by partnering with Dell and HP to sell Surface devices to consumers and it expanded its reach further recently by partnering up with IBM and Booze Allen Hamilton. IBM will provide Surface hardware and software to provide “custom data analytics packages” to financial services and consumer goods sectors and Booze Allen Hamilton will offer up Surface as hardware developed to facilitate Government and Healthcare.
Cloud Partners with Microsoft will also be allowed to offer Windows 10 Enterprise E3 to businesses for $7 a month.
Surface Membership Program
The announcement has come shortly after Microsoft announced the Surface Membership Program last week. The Surface Membership Program allows consumers to own Surface Devices for a small monthly fee starting at $32.99. This not only allows consumers the luxury of unlimited support and free upgrades to the latest Windows software but it also allows them to stay updated with the latest Surface hardware for free. Hence, consumers don’t have to keep buying the latest Surface Book or Surface Pro when that time of the year rolls in. The program includes setup, in store tech support, an extended service plan, personal training and Accidental Damage Protection.
The Monthly fee varies from device to device and whether you stretch the payments over a period of 18, 24 or 30 months. The most basic deal with get you a Surface Pro for $33 a month for 30 months. The most expensive will get you a Surface Book with 1TB of storage and 16 GB of RAM, an Intel i7 Processor and a dedicated GPU for $221 a month.
In the long run, you’ll end up paying more for a device you can get for less in each case due to the extra fees for upgrades. For instance, you’ll get a Surface Book for $3978 if you subscribe to the membership versus paying $3448 for a Surface Book that you purchase directly. If you’re someone who upgrades yearly then the former is for you, otherwise choose the latter. Oh, and did I mention that to register for the Program you’ll have to go through Microsoft’s financing partner LiftForward for all monthly payments? Choose wisely.