For enterprises looking to equip staff with both tablets and laptops, Microsoft is positioning its Surface Pro 3 as a full-powered business PC and a tablet while sweetening the deal with a discount and new support program.
For enterprises stretching to equip staff with both tablets and laptops, Microsoft is positioning its Surface Pro 3 as a “full-powered business PC and a tablet” while sweetening the deal with a discount and a new support program.
Microsoft is now offering a $150 discount for organizations buying the Surface Pro 3, Type Cover and Docking Station bundle of products in the U.S. market. The bundle has to be purchased through Microsoft's authorized Surface resellers to get the discount.
The Microsoft Store lists the retail price of the Surface Pro 3 (64 GB of storage with Intel i3 processor) at $799.00, with a Surface cover sold separately at prices ranging between $129.99 and $199.99.
The docking station is also sold separately at $199.99. Those are retail prices, so the business pricing might be different.
The new Microsoft Complete for Business program for the Surface Pro 3 offers a "3 year extended warranty, accidental damage protection, faster exchange service and Surface setup support for customers."
Microsoft also recently announced the Surface for Education Program, which establishes special education pricing for Surface Pro 3 and Type Cover (keyboard) bundle.
The Surface Pro 3 currently supports Windows 8.1, according to Brian Hall, general manager of Surface at Microsoft on the company’s Surface blog. However, the devices will be capable of upgrading to Windows 10 when Microsoft releases that next-generation operating system. Microsoft has indicated that it plans to release Windows 10 sometime next year.
Microsoft also has designed its Surface Pro 3 type covers, Surface Pro 3 docking station and various Surface Pro 3 accessories to be compatible with the next-generation Surface product, when that gets released, wrote Hall.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's hardware partners/competitors have been busy preparing their own Windows 8.1 PCs, including lower cost units, for distribution this fall. Those Windows 8.1 machines, unveiled at the IFA conference in September, are expected to compete with low-cost Android and Chromebook devices.
Google Chromebooks, which run Web apps, haven't made too many inroads into the business market so far. However, the company recently signaled some ramped-up efforts in that regard. Google announced enhancements to its Chromebooks for Work program this month. The program includes identity management capabilities and virtualization support.
Devices with Chromebooks for Work support can leverage single sign-on access via the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) standard. Chromebooks are supported by various identity solution providers, including "CA SiteMinder, Microsoft AD FS, Okta, Ping Identity, SecureAuth, and SimpleSAMLphp," Google's announcement indicated.
Google is also improving certificate management for wireless networks and enabling IT pros to push settings and bookmarks to end users. Citrix Receiver has been optimized for Chromebooks, enabling access to Windows virtual desktops. Google is even claiming that Chromebooks can support 3-D graphics-heavy apps via Nvidia and VMware solutions.
The Chromebooks for Work enhancements are priced at $50 per device per year. Google currently offers the program in U.S. and Canadian markets, but it may expand the program.
For a first look at the Surface Pro 3, see this Redmond article. A recent Seeking Alpha article offered a positive review from the financial press perspective. Microsoft recently noted that some Adobe Creative Cloud graphics-intensive products, such as Illustrator, are now touch-enabled on the Surface Pro 3.
NEXT STORY: BYOD of choice for Congress