Traditionally, Delta Air Lines
(NYSE:DAL) pilots are required to carry a 35-pound flight bag, which includes paper-based manuals and reference materials, with them when they fly. Today, the company announced a big change: Pilots will now carry a Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface 2 tablet instead of the flight bag. The Surface 2, announced last Monday, is set for release on October 22 as the follow-up to the original Surface, which was launched on October 26, 2012. Delta has a deal with the tech company to buy 11,000 tablets for pilots of 700 aircraft, including the Boeing
(NYSE:BA) 757 and 767.
The news is hopeful for Microsoft, as Surface sales have been dismal since the device launched last fall. With a mere 1.5 million tablets sold during the first eight months of its release, Microsoft is taking a writedown of $900 million in losses. By comparison, Apple's
(NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad sold 57 million iPads during those same eight months.
In its press release, Delta said that the Surface 2 will be valuable to its pilots because of its multitasking functionality. “Pilots will be able to open two applications side-by-side, offering, for example, the opportunity to assess weather information alongside proposed flight paths," said the company.
This partnership alone will not revitalize the Surface. But perhaps other companies -- and hopefully consumers -- will also find value in the Surface's ability to multitask.
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