Microsoft's Partners Doubt Success of Surface Tablets

Microsoft Will Need Hardware and Channel Partners to Make Surface a Success

by Anton Shilov
06/19/2012 | 07:27 PM

Partners of Microsoft Corp. believe that considering the company's heritage and orientation, it will not be able to make its own-brand Surface tablets a strong success since it lacks retail presence comparable to Apple's and will compete not on its own field. To make the matter worse, it will compete against its hardware partners, which is hardly good for business in general.


"Microsoft needs to remember where their bread is buttered. It would be a huge mistake for Microsoft not to leverage the channel. They don’t have the retail presence or following that Apple has. Microsoft needs the channel,” said Bob Venero, chief executive officer of Future Tech, a Microsoft partner that also sells Apple’s iPad tablet, in a conversation with CRN web-site.

Microsoft wants to sell its Surface tablets through its own chain of retail stores in the U.S. only in addition to select online stores. Since Apple iPad media tablets are sold not only in Apple stores, but also in big technology retail chains, Apple's solution will by default be presented in wider amount of locations than Microsoft Surface.

According to Microsoft partners among solution providers and the channel resellers, Microsoft will not be able to convince business customers to buy Surface tablets directly from them hoping that they [clients] will customize the tablets later on themselves. Meanwhile, elimination of partners from the chain means that the slates will not only be tailored for particular deployments in general, but the software giant will also upset its partners amond value-added resellers.

"The vanilla deployment of Microsoft software products is gone. 90% of all software deployments have some type of integration, customization and tie-in to multiple systems throughout the enterprise. That cannot be accomplished efficiently and effectively without the solution provider ecosystem,” added Mr. Venero.

Although the frustration of Microsoft's partners is understandable, one should keep in mind that conversations with solution providers may easy result in numerous compromises, which may make the devices bulkier, slower, etc. At the end of the day, many of Apple's partners like the company because its devices are simple yet reliable and are loved by many end-users.