In one breath, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer declared war on Apple saying he would leave “no stone unturned” and in another he described a giant boulder that he would ignore.Microsoft will only be selling its Surface tablet through its stores and website. That’s a change for how businesses normally buy stuff from Microsoft. Many businesses rely on Microsoft’s partners, its resellers, to put together a hardware/software combination and sell them the whole thing. This includes schools, hospitals, restaurants, retail outlets, warehouses, etc.
Resellers normally get Microsoft products at a discount and can sell them for a little profit. That won’t happen with the Surface.
This is what Ballmer told CRN during Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conferencing being held this week in in Toronto
“If a partner says, ‘Hey look I want to sell some of these things. I want to put them in solutions,’ they can order some off Microsoft.com and sell them. There is nothing that gets in the way of that. But, we have not set up what I would call industrial distribution as sort of a first element. We may get there.”
By not encouraging sales partners to use the Microsoft Surface tablet when selling Windows software, Microsoft is ignoring a major part of its business.
So aiming the Surface solely at consumers isn’t the smartest choice for Microsoft. But it does leave a nice wide opening for Microsoft’s partners like HP, which is designing its Windows 8 tablet specifically for business users. That’s the first break Microsoft has given them, too.