Microsoft has announced a surprise move with Dell, which will begin selling the Surface Pro 3 to its own enterprise customers. But the move is about much more than making money.
This is the first time Dell will be able to sell Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface accessories, which is a big deal, as Microsoft historically has had quite a closed-off channel with its Surface tablet/laptop hybrid.
Microsoft was previously focused predominantly on selling Surface direct to its customers, but in July this year started allowing more resellers and retailers to stock the device.
Now, Microsoft has announced a brand new Surface Enterprise Initiative, starting in early October in the US and Canada, with Dell selling Surface Pro goods through its North America commercial sales organisation and later in the year on Dell.com/Work.
Plus, Surface Pro devices sold through Dell will include the option of Dell Services, including Dell Hardware Warranty, ProSupport with Accidental Damage Service, and Configuration and Deployment Services.
This offering will be rolled out to the UK and 27 other markets in Microsoft’s Surface commercial channel starting in early 2016.
In addition, Microsoft says on its blog that "the likes of HP, Accenture and Avanade will enable more customers to enjoy the benefits of Windows 10".
And no doubt that’s the real reason why Microsoft is announcing these new partnerships right now.
If more businesses are using Surface devices, more people are using Windows 10 – and that all ties in with Microsoft’s ambitious goal of getting Windows 10 on one billion devices by 2018.
Dell, with its enormous channel reach and sales avenues, can help Microsoft get there – plus Dell will surely be pleased the grow its own product offering and sell the Surface to its customers.
Windows 10 already has a five per cent share of the OS market globally, and 8.5 per cent of the UK market, according to early estimates.
There are even reports suggesting Windows 10 is already installed on close to 100 million devices.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 adoption strategy is aggressive – the tech giant is not resting on its laurels, and clearly wants to get to its one billion mark as quickly as possible.
A recent Spiceworks report stated 60 per cent of IT departments surveyed have tested Windows 10 and 40 per cent plan to start rolling out Windows 10 this year. It also stated that 74 per cent of businesses plan to adopt Windows 10 by 2017, which would make Windows 10 the most quickly deployed version of Windows in history.
"As we get ready to roll out new Windows 10 enterprise capabilities this month, we’re happy to introduce the Surface Enterprise Initiative focused on bringing greater mobility and productivity to organizations with the power of Windows 10," said Microsoft in a statement.
"This initiative kicks off with an expanded partnership with Dell to deliver premium Windows 10 devices and world-class services and support to enterprise customers.
"This is the first in a series of partnerships to deliver even more value to our customers by bringing together amazing Windows 10 devices, industry specific apps and solutions, and unmatched sales, services and support."
This month, Microsoft is also rolling out new enterprise features to its Windows Insiders, including Enterprise Data Protection (EDP), which provides personal and corporate data protection; Microsoft Passport which helps business workers securely login to applications, websites and networks without a password; and Windows Store For Business, which lets IT administers acquire apps in bulk.
With the Surface 4 reportedly around the corner as well, Windows 10 adoption is only going to increase for Microsoft.
In other news, Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Adallom, an innovator in cloud security, helping customers protect their critical assets across cloud applications.