Microsoft Partners Poised for Surface 2 Action

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Resellers are hopeful that the Surface 2 -- the second iteration of Microsoft's tablet -- will be unveiled at WPC and sold through the channel.

Editor’s note:  As part of our special editorial partnership, Channelnomics is publishing this recent article from CRN in the UK.

microsoft-surface-tablet-computer-370x229Speculation is building that Microsoft will break its silence on its Surface channel strategy next month by unveiling an updated version of its tablet that will be sold through partners.

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Microsoft remained typically silent on the matter when contacted by CRN UK, but reports of a Surface 2 -- which is expected to include Intel's new Haswell chip and enhanced internet connectivity -- have been circulating recently.

Earlier this week, the software giant's head of partners Jon Roskill announced that attendees of its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), set for Houston next month, will be able to buy its RT and Pro devices for a heavily discounted price -- $99 and $399, respectively -- as a sign of the vendor's commitment to its partners. The vendor has also recently offered its RT model to schools and universities at heavily discounted prices.

Richard Gibbons, software manager at Microsoft partner Bechtle, believes the move suggests Microsoft is clearing out stock of the first-generation devices in preparation for Surface 2, which he suspects will be sold through the channel.

"I think [Surface 2] running Intel's new Haswell chips will launch in July and will be available through the channel -- [it] will be the big announcement at WPC. I think it will ship with Windows 8, but of course be updateable to 8.1 when it is released," he said. "My explanation for them not releasing [Surface Pro and RT] to the channel is that they knew the Surface 2 was coming, and they did not want the channel to get stuck with loads of old stock of the original Surface."

Microsoft launched its consumer-focused RT tablet in the run up to Christmas last year and sold it through its online store and retail stores. Its professional-focused Surface Pro launched in February, but the vendor has remained silent on whether the channel will ever get to sell the tablets, despite many VARs bursting to know either way.

For more UK channel coverage from CRN, visit www.channelweb.co.uk

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