The Surface Pro 4 hasn't even shipped yet, but Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 tablet has already broken a new record. On Tuesday, Microsoft revealed that the Pro 4 already has the fastest-ever adoption rate by business of any Surface device, even though the tablet isn't due to ship until Oct. 26.
Thirteen customers, including three educational institutions, have made a commitment to buy the Pro 4 before it hits the market. BNY Mellon, AstraZeneca, The Carlyle Group and USI Insurance Services are among those who have pledged to adopt, while Brighton College International, Sheffield Hallam University and University of Central Lancashire have all signed up to buy the Pro 4 to use in the education sector.
The device is the latest in Microsoft's line of tablets that feature a kickstand and keyboard cover support, intended for switching between tablet and laptop form factors. The pen, a long-standing feature of the range, has been upgraded to sense more levels of pressure than before. The Pro 4 is 8.4 mm thick and runs Windows 10 with an Intel Skylake processor.
"Of course these customers have different requirements and are choosing Surface Pro 4 for many different reasons," said Cyril Belikoff, senior director of Surface marketing at Microsoft, in a blog post. "But for all of our business customers, the value of Surface Pro comes down to cost savings when removing the need for both a laptop and an iPad, ability to run full Office and desktop apps and the strongest security and management with Windows 10."
Microsoft has traditionally owned the enterprise computing market, but Apple has made inroads in recent years. Most recently, it teamed up with IBM to sell hardware to businesses, and launched the biz-friendly iPad Pro.
Microsoft has big plans to support these customers and more like them. The company is expanding the Surface enterprise initiative to offer a permanent business device trade-in program, which will be available in the coming weeks, while in early 2016 it will roll out a new enterprise warranty that introduces ultra-fast replacement processing and warranty claims against non-bootable devices. Microsoft has also expanded to sell Surface through 5,000 business resellers.
Microsoft is due to report its first-quarter 2016 earnings on Thursday. Earnings for fiscal fourth quarter of 2015 showed the Surface line is one of the company's strong points, with revenue increasing 117 percent over the same quarter last year, to $888 million.