There’s been speculation off and on since Microsoft first launched the Surface tablet line about what Microsoft’s tablet strategy is, and whether or not it plans to stand behind the Surface Pro hardware for the long haul. Microsoft laid those concerns to rest with a blog post outlining the value of the Surface Pro 3 for business customers, and clearly demonstrating its commitment to the tablet line.
The post on the Microsoft Surface Blog is an important one. The Surface Pro line—and the Surface Pro 3 specifically—is great for business users, but businesses are reluctant to invest in hardware or software without some degree of confidence that it won’t be obsolete and unsupported a year from now.
Microsoft already counts BMW, Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Lotus F1 Racing Team, and more among its early Surface Pro 3 customers. In order to build on and continue that momentum, though, Microsoft is taking some steps to instill confidence among business customers.
First, Microsoft explains that it will give businesses the support they need to effectively manage and maintain Surface Pro 3 tablets. All firmware and drivers are available for IT departments to create a standard corporate image, and Microsoft has created a webpage that outlines the details of every Windows update and firmware update to shed light on what each update addresses. Microsoft also revealed a new support offering called Microsoft Complete for Business that includes a 3-year extended warranty, and accidental damage protection for Surface Pro 3 tablets.
Next, Microsoft announced that the Surface Pro 3 has been accepted by the US Environmental Protection Agency’ ENERGY STAR program. Combined with recent news that the Surface Pro 3 also qualifies for FAA and EASA authorization, the ENERGY STAR announcement will help companies meet internal policy, or external compliance mandates.
Finally—and perhaps most importantly for some companies—Microsoft stated that hardware accessories like the Type keyboard cover, the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station, and the power adapter, Ethernet adapter and other add-ons will continue to be compatible with the next generation of Surface hardware. That is a particularly relevant concern given the fact that Microsoft changed everything and rendered almost all of the Surface Pro 2 hardware accessories obsolete with the launch of the Surface Pro 3.
“We believe a strength of the Microsoft platform for enterprise is the rich ecosystem of hardware and applications developed by our partners, the community at large, and some of our own teams at Microsoft. In particular with Microsoft Surface Pro 3 we are now offering an enterprise-class device that can deliver great end user productivity. Microsoft is putting its full and sustained support behind the ongoing Surface program as one of a number of great hardware choices for businesses large and small.” – Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO
Microsoft’s Brian Hall states in the blog post, “Most businesses are buying Surface when their employees need a laptop and want to avoid having to buy and carry an iPad too. Surface Pro 3 serves as a full-powered business PC and a tablet, making for happy employees as well as happy CIOs and CFOs. One device means less to buy, deploy, manage and secure.”
I couldn’t agree more. It was only a few weeks ago that I wrote about how my iPad and iPad Mini are sitting around collecting dust a lot more these days now that I am using the Surface Pro 3. When I travel, I don’t need to carry the additional mobile device because the Surface Pro 3 is both a fully-functioning Windows computer, and a touchscreen tablet in one.
To put its money where its proverbial mouth is, Microsoft launched a limited-time Surface Laptop Replacement Bundle. Customers can get up to $150 off of a Surface Pro 3 with Type keyboard cover, and docking station when purchased together.
Microsoft’s message to business customers when it comes to the Surface Pro 3 can be summed up by this heading from the blog post: “Businesses can buy with confidence. We are here to stay.”
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