Microsoft’s bid to topple the iPad in business may not be a slow burner for much longer. The software giant has announced a new channel partner program to boost Surface tablet sales to companies and schools and has also introduced a scheme to improve the quality of enterprise Windows 8 apps.
The Surface RT and Surface Pro have only been available from Microsoft and from a handful of retail partners since launch, but will have greater visibility in business as a result of the new Microsoft Devices Program.
The program is already live and essentially means that distributors and resellers CDW, CompuCom, Ingram Micro, En Pointe, Softchoice, Synnex and Tech Data, Zones and others will be able to sell the tablets to their respective clients.
Microsoft says that the program will be expanded domestically and internationally in the coming months and adds that partners will be able to offer services like technical support and data protection.
If that wasn't good enough news, Microsoft has also extended its low-priced Surface tablet deal for educational institutions to the reseller community, which should mean more competition for the iPad in the classroom.
Furthermore, Microsoft is also looking to improve both the quantity and quality of Windows 8 apps, especially in enterprise, and that's a topic of conversation for the firm's third announcement.
The company says that it intends to introduce a new program called ‘AppsForSurface’ with independent software vendors (ISVs). The aim of the program will be to supply “devices and funding for app design intended to get key enterprise apps on Surface and Windows 8”.