Microsoft Redefines SaaS With Surface-as-a-Service

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 13, 2016

Surface In a move that could have far-ranging ramifications in the computing business, Microsoft today came out with a major shift by announcing that its Surface line of tablets and hybrid computers would now be offered as a subscription service through the company’s cloud solution providers (CSPs).

“This new offering enables flexibility of solutions, faster device refresh and ensures customers can have the latest Surface devices that evolve with the best Windows and Office have to offer,” according to Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group for Microsoft.

Speaking at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto, Mehdi said the Surface-as-a-Service program would allow the CSPs to offer Surface hardware as a managed service offering. Combined with cloud services, Office 365 and Windows 10 managed subscription offering, the CSPs will be able to provide a comprehensive end-to-end IT solution as a managed service.

Of course, the uncharitable would suggest that Microsoft latest move might well be called Hardware-as-a-Service, though the fact remains that this move creates a whole new spin around SaaS as an acronym.

Mehdi, whose address to the conference has been captured in this blog post, went on to say that the latest step would ensure that Microsoft enables digital transformation by delivering more personal computing across Windows and our devices. “With this next wave of computing, all new opportunities are available for our partners – across Windows, Surface, Surface Hub, and Microsoft HoloLens.”

An article published in Forbes (Read it here) says that Microsoft would also be expanding “the Surface Multi-National Purchasing Program. CDW, Insight, SHI, and Zones have been added as resellers capable of helping multi-national companies streamline the process for adding Surface hardware to company standards lists and facilitating adoption around the world for multi-national organizations.”

Surface has been a growing business for the company in recent times, having contributed close to a billion USD per quarter, up from about a billion USD per year over the last 12 months.

TechCrunch.com reported that the focus on expanding the sales of Surface brand beyond retail consumers began since last year. Microsoft had partnered with Dell and HP to sell Surface hardware via commercial sales organizations last year and today they announced two more associations with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton who will take on the role of Surface Solution Integrators.