SHI Sees Strong Tablet Growth, Including 'Some' Surface Sales


SHI International's mobile devices business is experiencing strong tablet growth, including some sales of Microsoft's Surface tablets.

The Somerset, N.J.-based solution provider reported an 11.75 percent revenue increase for the first two quarters of 2013, marked by significant mobile device sales growth with vendors such as Samsung, which saw a 103 percent year-over-year jump for tablet sales in the second quarter, and Apple, which saw a 64 percent increase in iPad sales during the same period.

SHI also said it's also starting to see Microsoft Surface sales, primarily for the Windows 8-based Surface Pro.

The company was one of the 10 large account reseller (LAR) partners selected by Microsoft to be the first authorized surface resellers under the new Microsoft Devices Program, which was unveiled July 1.

[Related: Microsoft CEO Ballmer Fesses Up, Admits To Overestimating Surface Demand]

"We've made some Surface sales since becoming authorized," said Ed McNamara, director of marketing at SHI. "It's too early to say what kind of impact it's going to have because we only recently began selling them, but we think there are a lot of customers that are very interested in the devices."

McNamara said he had been inquiring about Surface reselling opportunities with Microsoft for several months before finally becoming authorized under the new Microsoft Devices Program in July. He said there were several signs that there was demand for Microsoft's tablet leading up to SHI's inclusion in the program; for example, Surface was the top "failed search" product -- or most-searched-for product that SHI didn't carry -- on SHI's website through the first two quarters of the year.

"So we knew there was demand there," McNamara said. "You hear two stories about Surface right now: The first is that Surface isn't selling, and the second is that everyone is talking about it."

As for Microsoft's expansion of Surface reselling opportunities to additional partners, McNamara said SHI hasn't been informed as to when and how that may happen. "I have no insight on Microsoft's plans," he said, "but I would imagine that they'll open Surface up to more partners in the near future."

As for tablet sales in general, McNamara said SHI isn't seeing the devices cannibalize PC sales. "The majority of tablets we're selling are being deployed as complementary devices and aren't replacing notebooks," he said.

In addition to big Samsung and Apple sales increases for tablets, SHI also reported 54 percent growth for Lenovo tablet sales in the second quarter. Overall revenue for SHI's Corporate Division, which was created five years ago to focus on the SMB market, jumped 39 percent year over year for the first half of 2013.

PUBLISHED AUG. 13, 2013