Microsoft turns to resellers to bump up Surface sales

Company is further expanding distribution of its Surface RT and Pro devices, starting with authorized resellers in the U.S.

Mary Jo Foley
Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network.
Mary Jo Foley
Microsoft Surface tablets. Microsoft

Microsoft is expanding distribution of its Surface tablet/PC devices via authorized distributors and resellers, company officials said Monday.

Starting in the U.S., Microsoft is authorizing CDW, CompuCom, En Pointe, Insight, PC Connection, PCM, Softchoice, Softmart, Software House International, and Zones to sell Surface Pro and RT devices. "Over the next few months," Microsoft officials said, they will authorize commercial distributors and resellers in more countries.

Microsoft also plans to expand its education offer for the Surface RT -- offering devices for $199 via qualifying schools and universities purchasing direct from Microsoft -- into the commercial channel starting with the U.S. resellers "in the coming weeks," officials said.

Authorized Surface resellers will be able to offer Microsoft's extended warranty, as well as their own services, including asset tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling, and data protection, according to Microsoft.

When Microsoft launched the Surface RT, it originally did so in eight markets, only three of which had physical stores. Microsoft officials said Surfaces are currently available in 29 markets and 10,000-plus physical stores worldwide.

This story originally posted as "Microsoft starts selling its Surfaces through resellers" on ZDNet.