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July 1, 2013

Surface announces availability in U.S. channel, commercial app partnerships and an education offer

We’ve had a LOT of interest from businesses, schools and universities wanting to use Surface Pro as their primary PC and Surface RT as a productive tablet for work. Today, we are excited to announce the next steps in our availability for commercial customers – channel expansion plans, a new commercial app partnership program, and an update on our existing offer to help transform education. Less than a year ago, we launched Surface in eight markets, with only three having physical stores. Surface is now available in 29 markets and in 10,000+ physical stores around the world. We are humbled by the feedback from people so far. A JD Power & Associates 2013 tablet survey found just 20 percent of people today use their tablets for business. Surface is changing that by being THE most productive tablet! Since launch, it’s been exciting to talk to people who tell us they are using their Surface just as much as their previous tablet for things like entertainment and gaming; however, they are spending more time on productivity tasks like Skype/Lync calls, email, working in the Office apps, and sharing their work with others. The Bestbuy.com and Amazon.com reviews and ratings are telling. For example, Dr. Nick Patel from Palmetto Health in South Carolina is using the Surface in his medical practice in conjunction with the newly installed Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. Patel started seeing the benefits as soon as he began using the device. He believes it provides better efficiency and, most importantly, gives him more face-to-face time with his patients. Once he discovered the device worked well for him, he began sharing his experience with other physicians in his practice. Similarly, Marcus Bluestein the CTO of Kraft Kennedyin New York recommends Surface for lawyers who care about mobility. Recently, we shared how Surface RT gets better for businesses with the Windows 8.1 update, including security and management enhancements, as well as the inclusion of Outlook. We’ve taken a measured and phased approach to the growth of the Surface business in order to meet customer demand and partner expectations, and today’s announcements are the logical next step in ongoing availability and adoption of Surface for our business customers. Available from resellers. Today, we’re announcing the first phase of our expansion into the business channel that allows customers to purchase Surface and commercial services through authorized resellers. Customers can begin to buy in the US with the following Authorized Surface Resellers: CDW, CompuCom Systems, Inc., En Pointe Technologies, Insight Enterprises, Inc., SHI International Corp., Softchoice, Softmart, PC Connection, Inc., PCM, Inc. and Zones Inc.. In addition to offering Microsoft’s extended warranty and accidental damage, resellers bring a variety of additional value-added services to the Surface family, such as asset tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling and data protection. Over the next few months, we will be working to authorize commercial distributors and resellers in more countries. Work apps for Surface. Business users love that Surface runs Office and that Surface Pro runs existing Windows 7 desktop apps. This allows them to really embrace Surface as a two-in-one device and move seamlessly between tablet and laptop experiences. We’re also working with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to develop Windows store apps that make Surface more useful when touch is the interface of choice – work that also benefits the Windows ecosystem as a whole. Today, we’re announcing a new ISV program, called AppsForSurface, which provides devices and funding for app design intended to get key enterprise apps on Surface and Window 8. We have limited slots for this program, and ISVs that are already signed up include AirStrip, Citrix, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Sage. Today’s blog is the first time we are sharing Airstrip’s commitment to building Windows Store apps, and we’re excited to have them on board, as they are a powerhouse in the healthcare industry. Stay tuned for updates as we add more ISVs to this program. Surface gets good grades with education. We’ve been really excited by the response we’re getting to Surface from students and educators. From Qatar to Australia to Illinois, Surface is making a real difference by being a great tablet with Office. In June, we announced a one-time offer for Surface RT starting at $199 for qualifying educational institutes running until the end of August in 26 countries, valid for all K-12 and universities purchasing direct from Microsoft. In the coming weeks, we will expand this into the commercial channel, starting with Authorized Surface Resellers in the US. Microsoft has a long tradition with education, and this offer is intended to get Surface in the hands of even more educators and students. Taili and Chris are examples of how Surface is the perfect device for students on campus. We hope this offer helps ‘spread the love’ to this important audience we’ve always been connected with. We’re excited about these announcements and what they mean for our business and education customers. As is often said, this is the beginning of the beginning, and we see a bright future ahead for Surface. For more details about Surface in business, please go to surface.com/business. Thanks, Cyril Belikoff Director: Microsoft, Surface Frequently Asked Questions: Q: Why should I buy from an authorized reseller? A: These resellers can sell to our commercial, education and public sector customers but not consumers or retailers. In addition to offering Microsoft’s extended warranty and accidental damage, these resellers bring a variety of additional value added services to the Surface family including asset tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling and data protection. Q: Do you have distributors? A: There is a two-tier model for the Surface commercial channel. Ingram Micro Inc., SYNNEX Corporation and Tech Data Corporation are our distributors in the US. These distributors will resell Surface to the Authorized Surface Resellers. Q: Who should I contact to buy Surface? A: Commercial, education and public sector customers in the US can buy today from the resellers we announced. Over the next few months, we will be working to authorize commercial distributors and resellers in more countries. For those markets where we do not have resellers yet, customers can order from our commercial order website – www.surface.com/commercialorder Q: How do I get into the AppsForSurface program? Are these apps exclusive to Surface? A1: We’re excited to already have tremendous interest and enthusiasm from some of the leading ISVs and power houses in their respective industries. We announced specific organizations that are a part of this program today and will have more to share as this program develops in the coming months. If you are interested in participating, please send your details and ideas to appsforsurface@microsoft.com A2: While we are building partnerships with key app developers to improve the touch experience on Surface, this is work that will benefit with broader Windows ecosystem and Windows 8 devices. These apps will work across all Windows 8 or 8.1 devices. Q: Where can I get more details about the education offer? A: Earlier this month, we announced the availability of Surface RT devices at a reduced price for a limited time. The offer runs through August 31, 2013. See our education blog for more details and how to buy. Q: I heard that Outlook will be available on Surface RT. Can I start using it now? A: Yes, you can get the Windows 8.1 Preview today. Office 2013 RT will be installed with the Windows 8.1 Preview on your Surface RT. Q: Where do I get more details about Windows 8.1 Preview? A: Please see the Windows blog for more details. Q: Does Microsoft have plans to offer a 256GB Surface to commercial customers in the U.S.? A: Yes, there will be limited availability of a 256GB version of Surface Pro in the U.S. exclusively to our business customers through the commercial channel and the authorized Surface resellers. The resellers that are part of this initial phase of commercial expansion for Surface are great at working with their customers to develop unique solutions to meet their unique business needs, including where it makes sense, the option for a 256GB Surface Pro. As reflected in today’s announcement, we’re committed to our business, public sector and education customers, and are happy to be increasing Surface availability through the commercial channel.