Microsoft has signed up two new resellers to its highly sought-after Authorised Surface Reseller community, though the Surface channel remains an exclusive club in Australia.
The total number of commercial Microsoft Surface resellers has increased by just one to 15 partners since early December. Two resellers, Perth-based Stott & Hoare and Sydney-based e-Volve, are no longer approved resellers, according to the list provided to CRN by Microsoft.
CRN was not able to reach either reseller for comment by the time of publication.
The current approved partners are: CompNow and Ethan Group, as well as Southern Cross Computer Systems, ASI Solutions, Brennan IT, Ensyst, Data#3, Staples, Insight, Datacom, Dimension Data, Trident, Learning with Technology, Triforce and Somerville Group.
JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman are both retail partners for Surface. JB Hi-Fi recently won a place on the Western Australian government's PC supply panel allowing it to sell the Surface to state buyers.
The restricted nature of the Microsoft Surface channel has frustrated local resellers, with many complaining to CRN about not being able to sell the device.
Those lucky enough to gain reseller status are part of a growing market – Surface Pro revenues at Microsoft reached over $1 billion in a quarter last year, with IDC reporting at the time that Microsoft’s share of shipments had grown 53 percent.
The list of Surface resellers has changed at least three times since Microsoft opened up sales to 13 resellers in late 2013.
Those first resellers included Compulec, Computer Systems (Australia), e-Volve Corporate Technology and Stott & Hoare Business Computers, none of which feature on the latest list supplied by Microsoft.
By November last year, the list had expanded by one: Melbourne-headquartered Learning with Technology.
Those authorised resellers were given access to a bundle of Surface accessories last year, including $150 off a Surface Pro 3, a type cover and docking station.