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Microsoft Now Offering Surface Leasing Programs

Microsoft this week unveiled two leasing programs for its various Surface devices -- one for students and one for SMBs -- that both have plenty of fine print to consider.

The student plan is called Surface Plus, while the plan for SMBs, Surface Plus for Business, is a revamping of Microsoft's older Surface Membership lease plan. Both plans are only available right now through "U.S. Microsoft Stores and online at Microsoft.com."

The Surface Plus for Business plan is managed by LiftForward, "a leading software provider and licensed online lender to small and medium size businesses," according to Microsoft's FAQ. Businesses have to undergo the equivalent to a credit check with LiftForward to qualify for the plan.

Highlights of the Surface Plus for Business plan include the ability to mix Surface devices within the agreement, including the possibility of getting financing for a 55-inch Surface Hub, which is Microsoft's whiteboard and videoconferencing screen device.

The Surface Plus for Business plan has three payment terms, with the ability to upgrade devices after 12 months or 18 months, depending on the payment-term selected. Microsoft's announcement seemed to imply that the plan includes "Microsoft Complete for Business," a warranty program, but it may just be an option. Microsoft Complete for Business provides three or four years of protection against factory defects and battery failures, as well as protection against accidental power surges, spills and drops.

The Surface Plus plan for students gives them a little leeway on financing. They get a 0 percent annual percentage rate but it's just for 24 months. After that time, the lender will increase the rate to a whopping 19.99 percent, according to a footnote in Microsoft's announcement.

Students can upgrade the device after 18 months if they meet the conditions specified by the lender. Under the Surface Plus plan, the ability to get the Microsoft Complete warrantee protection is an additional cost option.

Of course, Microsoft Surface devices aren't low-priced machines. At the low end, the Surface Pro device starts at $799, but it costs extra to get the Type Cover and the Surface Pen device. At the high end, the Surface Studio starts at $2,999, while organizations have to call Microsoft to get a price on a Surface Hub device.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.