Microsoft has announced a new 'Surface Enterprise Initiative', under which the company will extend its existing relationships with some of its largest partners to boost Windows 10 adoption, and to drive sales of its Surface Pro tablets to business customers.
As part of the new program, Dell will begin selling Microsoft's Surface Pro tablets and accessories to its business customers in North America, later expanding to the other 28 markets in which Surface is available for these buyers.
Dell will not only sell the Surface hardware, but customers will also be able to opt for the company's support with their purchase, including Dell Services, Hardware Warranty (up to four years), ProSupport with Accidental Damage Service, and Deployment Services.
Dell will continue to sell its own Windows 10 devices alongside the Surface Pro 3 - indeed, this is a pretty potent example of Microsoft's tablet complementing the range of one its hardware partners, and something of a middle finger to the naysayers who predicted that OEMs would quickly turn their backs on Microsoft for making its own PCs, and potentially eating into their sales.
HP, Accenture and Avanade will also join the Surface Enterprise Initiative at a later date, although specific details for these companies were not announced today. Microsoft said:
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.
There are a couple of interesting side-points worth noting about today's announcement. First, Microsoft's press release for its Dell partnership refers vaguely to 'Surface Pro devices', rather than specifically to 'the Surface Pro 3' - this is, of course, is due to a new version of the device that is on the way.
That brings us to the second noteworthy nugget. All indications point to Microsoft planning a media event in October, at which it will unveil - among other devices - its Surface Pro 4. Given that Dell is scheduled to start selling Microsoft's tablets "in early October", this may well be a hint at when the Pro 4 will be available for sale.