Microsoft details rent-a-Surface scheme

Surface Pro 4

You may recall that last month, Microsoft revealed its Surface as a Service program – it's doing everything as a service these days, of course – which allows businesses to lease a Surface device on a monthly subscription plan to make costs more manageable.

The initial announcement of the scheme didn't go into much in the way of specifics, but more information has now be revealed courtesy of probing by Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet.

Contracts for leasing Surface hardware will come in three flavours: 12, 24 or 36 months. It's not just about the actual Surface devices either, because as well as the hybrid, you'll be able to pick a bundle of accessories, software and support levels – although every bundle will include at least a Surface device along with Office 365 on board.

Unsurprisingly, the hardware on offer is Microsoft's latest devices; businesses will be able to pump for either the Surface Book or Surface Pro 4.

UK supplier

Regarding the suppliers of the program, we already knew that ALSO, one of the top Cloud Solution Providers in Europe, would be involved in the scheme, but it has also emerged that Ingram Micro is on board as a supplier in the UK.

The broad idea of the scheme is simply to provide highly flexible solutions to businesses, and Redmond is offering further flexibility with a second offering, the Surface Membership program, although this is only available in the US right now.

The membership program allows business users to get a Surface device on a payment plan with free future upgrades when new machines come out, and support which includes personal training in the use of the hardware, and accidental damage cover. This is aimed more at smaller firms, although the Surface as a Service scheme is also for SMBs (but scales right up to the enterprise level).

It's unknown whether Microsoft will offer similar Surface leasing schemes to consumers in the future, but we can only hope that this is the plan, and the offers are competitive. Maybe something like this will kick-off by the time the Surface Pro 5 arrives.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).