Microsoft in its Worldwide Partner Conference on Monday announced that it is planning to increase the number of distribution partners for its Surface 2-in-1 tablet from hundreds to thousands. The announcement comes at the right time for the tech firm, with many things in its favor.
Good timing from Microsoft
Microsoft had only 20 Surface distributors and reseller partners last fall, so it is a wise decision to work on this, as experts have blamed its limited distributor approach for its failure to make a mark with tablets in the enterprise market.
“We are expanding our channel and will go from having a few hundred partners selling and servicing Surface to a few thousand globally in the coming months,” Microsoft said.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 and the Surface Hub are already witnessing positive momentum. In addition, Microsoft is expecting demand for these devices to witness a considerable upswing from the upcoming release of Windows 10, which is due later this month. The timing is also perfect for Microsoft as the overall tablet market has stagnated over the past few quarters, but shipments of 2-in-1 devices, which are more preferred by enterprise customers, are expected to grow.
Will it shake Apple’s supremacy?
Even with increased distribution, it will not easy for Microsoft to overtake Apple (which currently accounts for 30% of the tablet market) on the market, especially when the iPhone company is expected to come up with its much-anticipated larger tablet (unofficially referred to as the iPad Pro) this fall.
As past sales figures indicate, Windows tablet sales will surely be powered by the addition of more distributors. In the fourth quarter, Microsoft shipped more than 2 million Windows tablets. In the same quarter, a total 6 million Windows tablets were shipped, capturing 9% of the tablet market. Even if the number of shipments of third-party Windows tablets just holds steady, Microsoft-branded tablets will definitely encounter a great lift from such drastic distributor growth.
In related news, a report from DigiTimes claims that Microsoft has asked its supply chain to deliver parts for the Surface Pro 4 in September. The report further states that the tablet could hit the market in October. The upcoming Surface Pro 4 is expected to have the same thin form factor and a large display as was seen in the Surface Pro 3.