Microsoft and Dell team up to make the Surface business-class

Dell has long partnered with Microsoft to ship Windows on its PCs, but that cleanly divided relationship between hardware and software makers is about to get a little weirder. Microsoft is kicking off a program called the Surface Enterprise Initiative, in which Dell and other companies will sell Redmond's Surface tablets with the backing of their own business-oriented services and support.

According to Microsoft, this program is born out of businesses' desire to "buy Surface[s] from one partner, in one transaction and have devices deployed all over the world." To that end, companies will soon be able to buy Surfaces from Dell's corporate sales division, along with Dell hardware warranties, ProSupport service, accidental damage protection, and configuration and deployment offerings.

Dell is the first partner in the Surface Enterprise Initiative, but Microsoft will apparently be working with HP, Accenture, and Avanade to offer similar solutions, as well. Dell will be rolling out its Surface program to businesses in the USA and Canada in October, through its Work sales portal "later in the year," and in the 28 other markets where Microsoft sells Surfaces to business customers in early 2016.

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