Underneath the Surface 3 - Microsoft NZ makes bold education play

“We’re definitely making a big play in education with the Surface 3."

Microsoft New Zealand will launch a full frontal attack on the country’s education sector this year, spearheaded by the newly announced Surface 3, which will reach Kiwi stores by early May.

Revealed on April 1 by Computerworld New Zealand, the new device is more than a mere addition to the Surface family, more so a serious player in the 2-in-1 marketplace.

Billed as the “tablet that can replace your laptop”, not only is the Surface 3 destined to give Apple’s iPad a run for its money across the country, it’s also positioning itself as the ideal educational enabler, as Redmond continues its aggressive plans to place Surface devices into more hands.

“We’re definitely making a big play in education with the Surface 3,” says Frazer Scott, Marketing and Operations Director, Microsoft New Zealand.

Ageing from five and above, there are 767,258 pupils in education across New Zealand, according to the Government’s Student Roll figures for 2014, significantly widening the target market for Microsoft and its array of hardware devices.

Coupled with the lure of Windows 10 and a year’s Office 365 subscription, Scott believes such additional factors, as well as the significantly lower price point in NZ$799 is Microsoft’s way of reaching classrooms, lecture theatres and faculty rooms, as a possible alternative to the already available premium model in the Surface Pro 3.

“We see the Surface 3 primarily hitting three areas in New Zealand,” Scott explains. “Firstly, it’s an ideal device for the mobile professionals who are constantly on the go and require the power of a PC but the portability of a tablet.

“Secondly, we see this resonating strongly with pupils in classrooms and students in university. Students especially will be drawn to the longer battery life as well as the ability to consume media on one side, while still maintaining access to the full power of a PC.

“Another key factor is that when students leave university and enter the workforce, employees on the whole rely on them being up to speed with Windows, Outlook and Office apps, which through a year’s free subscription of Office Personal can be achieved.

“Thirdly, this is also primed for the school professionals such as teachers and lecturers who may be looking to upgrade from an older Surface model, and see this as the perfect blend between a laptop and a PC.”

Scott however was quick to acknowledge that the Surface 3 is not exclusive to these demographics, insisting that the device gives Kiwis the option to change.

“We’ve found that a lot of corporates in New Zealand are sick of carrying two devices and trying to make a tablet work in a PC environment,” he adds.

“When we first embarked on the Surface line a few years back the truth was that you either used a laptop or a tablet but Microsoft has always held a different view.

“As a result we’ve gone down that journey to the point where we are now with the Surface Pro 3. Now the aim is to get the Surface into more people’s hands, and launching the Surface 3 is the effective way to do that.”

Compared to the NZ$1199 price point of the well received but higher priced Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 seems a logical way to go for Kiwis either seeking a Surface upgrade, or even considering jumping into the Microsoft ecosystem altogether.

As with any launch time will of course tell, but as the Surface 3 makes its way to New Zealand, and with a seemingly large untapped market ready and waiting, maybe, just maybe, Apple will start looking over its shoulders.

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