Microsoft sweetens deal for Windows 10 in the enterprise
Microsoft unveiled plans today to introduce incentive programs for companies looking to adopt the Windows 10 Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. The improved Surface Enterprise Initiative and Trade-In program is designed to make it easier to upgrade to Windows 10.
Last week, Microsoft unveiled its latest Windows 10 devices last week — most notably the Surface Pro 4 and brand new Surface Book. Today, Microsoft followed up with updates to its Surface Enterprise Initiative program as part of an effort to bolster Windows 10 adoption in the enterprise. Two of the biggest announcements include updates to the Microsoft Complete for Enterprise and a new trade-in program. Both offer improved service options and incentives to companies that want to make the switch or upgrade to Windows 10, the Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book.
In case you missed it, the Surface Pro 4 is the latest “tablet that can replace your laptop” from Microsoft, featuring an updated Type Cover, a new Surface Pen, better specs and more enterprise security options than its predecessors.
The Surface Book is Microsoft’s first go at a notebook, and while the Surface Pro 4 is more tablet than notebook, the Surface Book is the opposite. With a rotating hinge, you can opt to use it in “clipboard mode,” as a typical laptop or as a tablet without the keyboard. It’s aimed at both consumers and the enterprise, touting features for industries including retail, aerospace, architecture, design and education.
Keeping in line with the enterprise appeal of both devices, Microsoft also unveiled a new docking station that uses the proprietary port on the Surface Pro 3, Pro 4 and Book. The new docking station is equipped with two Display Ports, four full USB ports, an Ethernet port and a headphone jack. It’s portable enough to fit in your carry-on bag while traveling, but solid enough to stay put on your desk while you work.
The Microsoft Complete for Enterprise program is aimed at businesses interested in buying a fleet of Surface products. Typically, when purchasing a Microsoft device under warranty, you can place up to two claims within the warranty period. But for businesses, those claims still remained tied to each device. That means if an IT department purchased 1,000 devices, it technically has 2,000 claims, but only two per device. Under the new program, Microsoft allows businesses to pool these warranty claims per company rather than per device.
For companies where security is top priority -– which is nearly every company today -– Microsoft acknowledges the tenuous nature of returning a non-bootable device without wiping the hard drive first. Since the unibody design of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book makes it impossible to simply remove the hard drive, companies can be understandably leery of shipping a dead device out for service if it’s still filled with confidential information. With the updates to the Microsoft Complete for Enterprise service, customers will now be able to destroy the device on site, and Microsoft will replace it with a brand new one. Other features include next-day air for fast device replacement and an on-boarding service to get employees up to speed with Windows 10 and the latest devices.
The Trade-In Program is designed to give businesses an incentive to switch to the latest Windows 10 Surface devices. Older devices that apply can be traded in to Microsoft and the value can be applied to the purchase of new Surface devices. For example, a company can round up every Surface 3 Pro in the company -– or other eligible Windows device -– and trade them in for a fleet of Surface Pro 4 devices or Surface Books and pay the difference in price.
Microsoft says it is looking to make it less difficult and more efficient for companies to adopt these new hybrid devices, while making it as easy as possible for businesses to purchase and deploy Windows 10 and Windows 10 devices. For example, in September, Microsoft announced a partnership with Dell, making it a Surface reseller. Through this partnership, IT departments ensure they not only have the latest devices, but that they also come equipped with Dell’s Hardware Warranty, ProSupport with Accidental Damage Service as well as Configuration and Deployment services. Microsoft says that prior to its Worldwide Partner Conference 2015, there were a couple hundred resellers, but as of July, the company reports that it has nearly 5,000 Surface resellers.