Microsoft Surface Tablets and Partner Sales: An Amazon Clue?
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) may have inadvertently given off some clues about whether VARs will have a play in selling the impending Surface tablet, as five models of the tablet have shown up on Amazon’s Germany site, including a 32GB unit not previously announced, according to a report by PC World. For channel partners, the early indicators may not be great news but, nonetheless, appear consistent with what the vendor already has said about its resale plans for the device.
While no prices or release dates were specified, visitors were invited to request notification when the units become available, according to the report.
Four tablet models on the Amazon listing map to those shown by Microsoft — two of which are the Surface Pro tablets, one with 64GB of flash memory and the other with 128GB — and match the specification sheets on the company’s Surface web site, the report noted. While no pricing is indicated, a post on The Next Web in late June reported the Surface RT model would be priced starting at $599 and the Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor-equipped Windows 8 unit would kick off at $999.
One obviously curious aspect of the Amazon Germany Surface listing is the inclusion of a 32GB Surface Pro unit, evidently a less-expensive, entry-level model possibly aimed at the laptops and Ultrabook space, although no pricing has yet emerged for this Surface edition.
So far, Microsoft has left much to the imagination but offered little direction about whether VARs will have the chance to sell the Surface tablet. The company has said only that its retail stores and some online sites — as in Amazon — will be selling the devices. A number of Microsoft channel partners, while admiring the Surface tablet, have expressed some dismay and/or disbelief that the vendor would confine the devices’ distribution to retail and online outlets, according to a report in CRN.