Microsoft is truly becoming a service-oriented company. The company seems to want everything to be available on a subscription basis so you never have to pay to own anything. The latest initiative along those lines is their Rent-a-Surface idea, where people can simply choose the Surface device of their liking and sign up for a monthly rental plan.
Here’s what they recently did with Microsoft Windows 10.
What Can You Rent from Microsoft?
For now, Microsoft is only opening up the Surface Book and Surface Pro (yes, you can now rent a Surface Pro 4) on this deal, and the plans are designed for small businesses. Knowing Microsoft, they’re merely testing this ahead of opening it up to individual consumers in the future.
Plans come in 12, 24 and 36 month options, and are ideal for home businesses and small businesses that want to save money on hardware.
You can also choose from several tiers of support, software and accessories.
The best part is that these devices come fully loaded with Office 365 as a standard. You just need to pick what other software you want, any accessories you might find useful and the level of technical support you require.
And obviously, all devices come with the latest version of the Windows 10 operating system.
Microsoft will also allow you to upgrade to new devices as they are released. That means if you get on the Surface Pro 4 plan, you’ll be eligible to swap it for the Surface Pro 5 when it comes out.
You can also choose personalized training on Surface and software usage for you and your staff, as well as accidental damage cover, which I think is a great idea so you won’t have to bear the cost of the device if you break it.
The service is currently available only in the United States, but it’s early days yet. There are several things that Microsoft is likely to roll out in the coming months – availability in multiple countries, more devices, options for individual users, product upgrades and so on.
How Does This Help Microsoft?
Surface products are very popular around the world. Not as much as Apple’s range of smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs, but those who prefer a Windows environment love Surface.
But Microsoft still hasn’t cracked the devices market in any significant way. But they do have a big advantage over Apple and several other companies – they practically own the desktop and laptop operating system market with Windows. In addition, their Office 365 is currently the most-used “cloud” software application in the world.
What Microsoft is doing now is leveraging their reputation in the business world and the popularity of their software to push their device agenda forward.
Why Isn’t Apple Doing This?
I think it’s a brilliant move, and we should be seeing some serious traction for the company in the coming months, especially if they roll out the service to individual users.
Imagine if Apple could think up a service like this. How many people do you think would refuse to sign up for a monthly rental on the iPhone 7? Hundreds of millions around the world, in my opinion. Each of their new iPhone models already sells in the tens of millions, and the only reason that number isn’t much bigger is because of affordability.
It might hurt Apple’s “exclusive” image if they did this, but I think they should certainly give it some thought – especially because of the fact that device sales have actually been slowing down over the past six months.
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