Aussie resellers could have the Surface Pro by September

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Aussie resellers could have the Surface Pro by September

Select Australian resellers could be free to sell the Surface Pro tablets directly to their customers as early as September.

At Microsoft’s WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference) yesterday the company revealed Australia was one of 28 countries scheduled to see the Surface made more widely available through traditional distribution channels.

The company’s VP for APJC, Alvaro Celis said an announcement would be made soon as to which partners would be given access to the Surface in Australia. Currently it's available for online purchase or through retail giant Harvey Norman.

The software giant’s global head of channels, Jon Roskill confirmed to CRN today it was looking at ways to speed uptake of the device which to date has achieved disappointing sales at the same time as raising the ire of the partners which were cut out of the picture as the company embraced a retail sales model similar to Apple’s.

Asked whether he thought Microsoft’s heavily criticised strategy with the Surface had caused it to miss the boast for the tablet market, Roskill was circumspect.

“Would we like to be going faster with this {the Surface}?,”  he noted. “The answer is yes but we’re doing this in a way that’s properly managed.”

Roskill acknowledged Microsoft partners felt aggrieved at the strategy but affirmed they were key to the success of the company’s recently announced Microsoft Devices Program as well as to drive uptake of the newly upgraded Windows 8 operating system, which to date has fared no better than Vista.

Microsoft likewise stressed the importance of its channel partners in helping to drive sale of its two flagship cloud offerings: Azure and Office 365.

Company CEO Steve Ballmer stressed this week that Microsoft was some way from becoming the world’s biggest cloud company, but that it had designs on being the best. Both Azure and Office 365 are billion dollar businesses, Roskill affirmed, with Alvaro noting that every Azure sale in APAC has had a partner involved at some stage of the sales cycle.

On Office365, Microsoft made a number of announcements at WPC this week around making it easier for the company’s partners to increase their share of these fast-growing golden goose, including the E1, E3 and ProPlus offerings.

Alvaro confirmed, however, that these offerings do not relate to Australian partners, with Microsoft’s iron-clad exclusive deal with Telstra seemingly as robust as ever.

In February, Microsoft launched its new version of Office 365 with two new plans; the Small Business Premium plan and the Mid-Size Business plan. The latter, known as the M plan, is unique in the Office 365 line up. It’s the only plan Microsoft has designated for SME resellers to sell directly. Microsoft even created a new licence for it – Microsoft Office 365 Open.  

But yet again, Australian resellers were denied access to it because of the Telstra arrangement.

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