Four Microsoft Surface Laptops
By Jonathan Vanian
August 1, 2017

Microsoft has given some customers new ways to buy Surface tablets and laptops.

Microsoft debuted two different payment plans on Tuesday to help lift sales of the devices, which compete against Apple and Google.

One new Microsoft payment plan, the Surface Plus, is intended for students who want to pay monthly installments for their Surface devices instead of all at once. A big selling point for this plan is that fact that customers can upgrade to the latest Surface model after an 18-month period.

It’s unclear how much money people will save through the upgrade because it depends on the kind of Surface device involved. The Surface Pro costs $800 while the Surface Book costs $1,350, for example.

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To qualify for the upgrade, people must be able to return their used Surfaces in “good condition” and agree to a new 24-month payment plan, Microsoft said. Students must also buy their Surface devices from a Microsoft bricks-and-mortar store or through its online shop.

Microsoft’s debut of the student payment plan comes just before school season starts in August.

In the education space, Microsoft’s Surface devices face tough competition from Google’s (goog) Chromebook barebones laptops, which account for over half of the 12.6 million PCs shipped to U.S. schools in 2016, according to a report by GeekWire. The report, based on data gathered by Futuresource Consulting, also says that Microsoft (msft) has a 22% share followed by Apple (aapl), which has 14%.

Also on Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled Surface Plus for Business, a similar monthly-payment plan for small-to-medium businesses that buy Surface devices. The plan is based on Microsoft’s older Surface Membership program., whose members will be grandfathered into the new version. Corporate customers using the plan can buy Surface devices for employees and pay in 18, 24, or 30-month installments.

Additionally, Microsoft’s Surface Hub digital whiteboard, which costs $9,000, is available to corporate customers via monthly installments, which was previously unavailable.


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