Microsoft is looking to make it easier for smaller businesses to outfit their employees with Surface products, by introducing a new Surface Membership Plan. It allows customers to buy Surface Books and Surface Pros on a staggered, monthly basis, rather than just in one large outlay.
The plans begin at $33 a month, which gives buyers a Surface 3 to play with. $52 a month ups the ante to a Surface Pro 4, and if you want a Surface Book on a monthly fee, you need to dish out a full $80 per month.
Plans are customizable over 18, 24, or 30 months, and you can choose everything from the processor to the memory and storage options within your new two-in-one. You don’t need to stop at one though. If you want the boss to have a nice i7-equipped Surface Book, but feel that the employees require only Surface 3s, you can customize it all to make that a reality, with Microsoft giving a final price for the whole package.
It’s not just about hardware though. These subscriptions will also give businesses access to 24/7 support, as well as in-store training for those firms that want to send employees on a little computer refresher, or want them to get the most out of their new hardware.
Members are also given discounts on future hardware buys, the option to upgrade in the future and maintain their membership, and a free Microsoft Complete for Business package, which gives up to four years extended support for the hardware if something goes wrong.
That’s why the overall payment plan is a little more expensive than what you would pay for the hardware outright — but that’s par for the course with subscription systems, and you do get some extras with the membership plan.
All of this is simply another extension of Microsoft’s restructuring as a hardware/software services firm, with subscriptions and regular payments are replacing big, one-off layouts and software releases.