Delta Air Lines Says Goodbye to Microsoft Surface, Hello to Apple iPhone and iPad
Delta Air Lines will provide nearly 30,000 flight crew members with Apple iPads and iPhones, reversing course from a high-profile deal announced four years ago that armed flight crews with Microsoft hardware.
Delta (DAL) will provide more than 23,000 flight attendants and 14,000 pilots with Apple iPhones and iPad Pros, respectively, according to the email, which was obtained by Apple news blogger Ken Ray, also known as MacOSKen.
An airline spokesman confirmed that the email is legitimate. A Microsoft (MSFT) spokesperson said the hardware change is part of an overall Delta hardware refresh to standardize on a 10.5-inch form factor. Delta continues to invest in and use Microsoft productivity and business applications across its operations, the spokesperson added.
For the pilots, an iPad Pro will replace Surface tablets that were used as an “electronic flight bag,” which replaced paper maps, charts, and other documents that pilots typically carry.
For flight attendants, the new Apple (AAPL) devices replace the Nokia Lumia 1520 tablets, which were part of the initial Delta-Microsoft deal and were used for in-flight payment systems.
One reason for this move—apart from the fact that Microsoft is getting out of the Windows phone business—is that it will align Delta with other airline partners, including Aeromexico, Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic, according to the email.
In the email, Delta said it maintains ” a strong and positive relationship with Microsoft” and that some of the apps that will run on the attendants’ iPhone 7 are based on Microsoft Dynamics business software.
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Still, this is a blow for Microsoft’s high-profile hardware efforts. The company has pushed hard to make its Surface lineup a user-friendly competitor to Apple iPhone, iPad, and MacBook franchises. Last week, the company unveiled its latest effort, the Surface Book 2, which should hit the shelves in mid-November.
Note: (October 23, 2017, 11:30 a.m. EDT) This story was updated to add Microsoft comment.