Microsoft customizes Surface tablets for enterprises

Microsoft has partnered to make custom software for Surface enterprise customers, and is open to customizing hardware

Microsoft is doing new things with its Surface tablets, and hoping that enterprises will find a lot to like.

The company is taking steps to tailor the tablets to the needs of enterprises. The goal of customization is to differentiate the Surface from look-alike products, and to tie devices closely to a company's operations.

"We're going to meet the enterprise on their terms," said Hayete Gallot, general manager of Microsoft Devices, in an interview with the IDG News Service.

Surface tablets have been successful with consumers and professionals, and Microsoft is giving it an additional enterprise twist. The effort comes as companies look to upgrade to Windows 10 PCs, with tablet-laptop hybrids like Surface being popular replacements.

The customization plans are centered around software and buying options, but Microsoft is also open to the idea of customizing Surface hardware.

Microsoft is partnering with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton to develop custom software for Surface devices. The software will be tuned specifically to a company's needs.

Working with IBM is "like bringing the big dog" to develop custom software for Surface, Gallot said. IBM will use its expertise in analytics and big data to develop apps for the retail, consumer goods and health care industries. IBM will develop applications for retailers and consumer packaged goods companies to access analytics that will help maximize employee productivity. Interactive applications will also be made for demand forecasting and product and sales management.

The partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton will be on tuning Surface tablets for government, public sector and health-care organizations, with a focus on security and manageability of devices. For example, Booz Allen Hamilton will able to offer lock-down features that will increase the security of devices, Gallot said.

Microsoft can also customize hardware to meet enterprise needs, if needed.

"We are open to it," Gallot said.

It's not uncommon for enterprise customers to ask for specific hardware features when it comes to security, memory and storage capacity.

But there's no demand yet for custom Surfaces, as the tablets are being widely used in enterprises in their current configurations, Gallot said.

Microsoft also announced the Surface as a Service program, which provides flexibility on hardware purchases. Surface devices can be packaged with cloud services and paid for on a subscription basis. The subscription program is becoming popular as customers try to retain financial flexibility when purchasing new hardware, Gallot said.

Such programs last from one to three years, and also give customers quicker access to hardware upgrades, Gallot said.

HP also launched a similar hardware-as-a-service program last week. Such programs reduce the up-front cost of paying for hardware, and instead break them down into monthly chunks that are similar to installment payments.

IDC says PC upgrades may pick up after Microsoft ends its free Windows 10 upgrade program on July 29. Companies may buy new PCs instead of paying for a Windows 10 OS license.

There are questions lingering around the release of a possible successor to Surface 3, which Microsoft said it will stop making by the end of the year. Gallot didn't definitively say if such a device would be released, but said the Surface 3 sold well in the enterprise.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?