Page 2 of 2
Microsoft has restricted sales of both products to its own website and Microsoft retail stores, as well as a few retailers like Best Buy and Staples, passing over its traditional channel partners in the process.
"The fact that Microsoft is making this move seems to confirm what we've all believed: that they aren't really selling," said Erik Thorsell, president of Success Computer Consulting. A Microsoft partner, Thorsell described himself as a believer in Windows 8, but not Surface. "Frankly, I don't think price is the big challenge here. ... I think it's lack of channel support for Surface because we can't make a living selling it," he told CRN
"So, I might buy a Surface at WPC because the price is low ... but it won't cause me to bring it to clients as a demo, because I prefer to demonstrate hardware that we resell. My clients will continue to see Lenovo equipment with Windows 8 in spite of this announcement."
Several Microsoft partners took a more upbeat view about the offer and said they intend to take advantage of it.
"I get the feeling this is more about driving additional excitement at Tech Ed and now WPC than about liquidating inventory," New Signature CEO Christopher Hertz told CRN. "I have to say, a lot of our team saw the announcement and immediately were asking to go to WPC just so they could get their hands on one of these very cool devices."
New Signature is a Washington D.C.-based Microsoft partner, and Hertz said his company's sales team all use Surface Pro and Surface RT tablets. "But [we] will definitely be buying as many Surfaces as we can at WPC. They are such incredibly useful devices that I would love to have one for every person in the company -- [we] just have to convince our CFO to budget for that next year."
"They might be trying to seed the partners to drive momentum," said Ric Opal, vice president at Peters & Associates, a gold-level Microsoft partner based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. "Once I bought my [Windows phone-based] Lumia 920, I actually like it more than the iPhone." On the WPC offer: "I sent an email to all employees and my inbox is slammed with 'Yes and how many can I have k...'"