Microsoft is to start selling its Surface devices via resellers to business customers.
A pilot programme has been launched that will see selected channel partners sell the struggling tablets to commercial, educational and public sector firms.
Those tasked with selling the devices are Computacenter, CCS Media, Insight, Kelway, Misco, Phoenix Software, SCC, Softcat and SoftwareONE. Microsoft said more partners would be brought on board in the coming weeks.
Prior to this announcement, Surface devices were only available in the UK through Microsoft directly or retailers PC World and John Lewis.
Partners in the programme will provide extended warranty and accidental damage cover. In addition, they'll offer a variety of value-added services to the Surface family such as asset tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling and data protection.
"The addition of these authorised resellers greatly expands the reach of the Microsoft devices-and-services strategy, extending the company's family of devices enabled by cloud services to more organisations," said Peter King, director of devices, small, medium enterprises and partners group at Microsoft UK.
"We look forward to working closely with these partners to better serve their commercial customers. As we move quickly into future phases of this programme, we will activate more partners in more markets to sell Surface devices."
Microsoft began selling the Surface via the channel in the US in July and has also expanded the programme to resellers in Canada and elsewhere in Europe.
As reported by IT Pro last month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted the firm committed to manufacturing too many Surface RT tablets, as he tried to explain the firm's recent $900 million write-down.
Investors are also suing the company over what they claim are "false and misleading" statements about Surface RT tablet sales.
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Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.