Microsoft unveiled a partnership Tuesday that will allow businesses to purchase Surface Pro tablets and Surface accessories through Dell's enterprise sales division starting next month. It's part of a larger plan that calls for Microsoft to work with other companies like HP and Accenture on promoting its tablets for business use.
Dell will also make Microsoft's tablets available through its online enterprise sales website later this year. Companies that purchase Surface Pro tablets through this partnership can also purchase Dell services, such as up to four years of a hardware warranty, ProSupport with Accidental Damage Service, and Configuration and Deployment Services.
HP said that it will also be selling Microsoft's tablet through its enterprise sales force, and will be offering a set of Care Packs to help companies plan, configure, deploy and manage a Surface Pro 3 rollout. In addition, the company plans to release "mobility workflow transformation tools and services" next year.
The move is aimed at making Microsoft's tablets more palatable to businesses that already buy services and support from Dell for other computers and servers. Interestingly, the partnership means that Dell is in a position of selling Microsoft's tablets alongside its own tablets and 2-in-1 convertible PCs.
All of this is part of a broader plan Microsoft is calling the Surface Enterprise Initiative. The tech giant will work with partners like Dell, HP and Accenture to sell Surface Pro tablets to large companies. The program could improve adoption from enterprises that want to purchase their technology products from a partner that can also provide service and support for deploying devices.
Selling new tablets to enterprises will also help drive business adoption of Windows 10. Microsoft recently revealed that there were 1.5 million computers running the Enterprise edition of its new operating system less than a month after it was released for users to install.
Microsoft also said Tuesday that it will push out new features for Enterprise members of the Windows Insider program this month. They'll get a chance to try out the Windows Store for Business, Enterprise Data Protection features that lock down business files and Microsoft Passport support for securely logging into applications.
Another company working with enterprise firms to push its tablets to businesses is Apple, which teamed up with IBM last year for this purpose. Apple also reportedly plans to announce an iPad Pro with a larger screen that's more tailored for use as a work device.
This news comes ahead of a rumored Microsoft hardware announcement next month, where the company is expected to unveil new smartphones and possibly a Surface Pro 4. Tuesday's announcement doesn't specify which Surface Pro model Dell will sell.