When Microsoft finally made Surface and Surface Pro tablets available to the channel, the company did so on the smallest possible scale. On July 1, just a week before the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, the software giant introduced the Microsoft Devices program, which named 10 large account reseller (LAR) partners as authorized Surface partners. But, all other Microsoft resellers were left out of the picture -- even though Microsoft also teamed up with top IT distributors Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Synnex to supply the tablets. The strategy had many VARs scratching their heads. Some partners claimed Microsoft was giving an unfair advantage to its LAR partners, while others were frustrated by Microsoft's continued effort to limit Surface availability to the commercial channel.