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Surface Tablets Expanding into Non-Microsoft Stores?

By - Source: Windows IT Pro | B 25 comments

Microsoft is reportedly gearing up to offer the Surface RT tablet in stores like Best Buy and Staples in mere days.

Paul Thurrott of Windows IT Pro reports that within days, Microsoft is expected to make its Surface RT tablet available to a broader retail audience. Currently the ARM-based Windows 8 tablet is sold through Microsoft's online store, and through its 32 brick-and-mortar stores scattered throughout the United States and Canada. But soon the tablet will reportedly be offered in traditional retail locations as well.

"This was always going to happen in very early 2013, but the software giant has apparently decided to ramp up the speed and make it happen before the holiday selling season is over," Thurrott stated, adding that his information stems from one of his "most trusted sources".

Microsoft reportedly was going to sell the tablet overseas in retail chains due to the lack of physical Microsoft Store locations. Meanwhile in the States, the Redmond company was rumored to launch Surface RT in Staples and Best Buy come January. But based on the new insider information, Microsoft's plan seems to have changed, moving the date into December instead.

Thurrott goes on to claim that news of Microsoft only selling $500,00 to 600,000 Surface RT tablets is "probably incorrect". Sources close to Microsoft's Surface RT sales numbers claim that the device is actually selling very well given a modest, Microsoft-limited distribution. Even more, Surface RT sales represent "one of the few bright spots in what is becoming an increasingly dire late-2012 launch season."

For now, potential customers can purchase the Surface tablet with Windows RT here. The 32 GB version without the Touch Cover retails for $499. However customers wanting the 32 GB version with the Touch Cover must shell out $599, and those wanting 64 GB of storage and a Touch Cover will be required to scrape up $699. The Redmond company also sells the Touch Cover separately for $119.99, and the Type Cover for $129.99.

Earlier this week, Forbes reported that "almost no one is buying" Microsoft's Surface RT tablet. Boston-based brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton said that Microsoft will likely sell less than one million units in the December quarter because of a lack of distribution – aka the tablet's unavailability in popular stores like Best Buy, Staples, Walmart and more. Mixed reviews and a $499 starting price isn't helping move units either.

Maybe this is why Surface RT is hitting retail stores early – to bring sales up before the quarter ends? We'll find out soon enough.


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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 8, 2012 3:17 PM
    There are brick and mortar Microsoft stores?
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 8, 2012 3:17 PM
    There are brick and mortar Microsoft stores?
  • -7 Hide
    eklipz330 , December 8, 2012 3:33 PM
    Krog216There are brick and mortar Microsoft stores?

  • Display all 25 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , December 8, 2012 3:59 PM
    Krog216There are brick and mortar Microsoft stores?

    I've been to one. A complete copy of Apple at every level.
    At my local Microsoft store they even leased the space right next to Apple and have the setup exactly the same as Apple.

    Surface was DOA when they did not want stores like Best Buy, Staples, Walmart etc to sell it.

    When people (like you) don't even know they have stores, don't really buy from them online, nor have seen the product, who is going to pre-order this? Not many. When they try to charge around the same as an iPad, who is going to buy it? Not many. When they release 2 version RT & Pro, how many are going to commit to buying one? Not many.

    Hence why Microsoft's projection of 4 million RT sold are being reduced to 2 million and are more realistically being estimated at 1.3 million.
  • -2 Hide
    jhansonxi , December 8, 2012 3:59 PM
    Krog216There are brick and mortar Microsoft stores?
    Only 32 (Apple has almost 400) but you won't get the Apple "experience" there.
  • 6 Hide
    A Bad Day , December 8, 2012 4:36 PM
    wemakeourfutureI've been to one. A complete copy of Apple at every level. At my local Microsoft store they even leased the space right next to Apple and have the setup exactly the same as Apple.

    Burger King also does that sometimes. They would wait for McDonald to do the research and make the move, and then build their own restaurant right across the street.
  • 2 Hide
    bystander , December 8, 2012 4:40 PM
    This was a move that should have been done within a week of its release. Until people know what Surface can do, people are not going to buy it online, site unseen. It'll be interesting to see how much this move helps.
  • -2 Hide
    bigdragon , December 8, 2012 4:46 PM
    Microsoft is late to the party as usual. There are Microsoft stores about an hour and a half away from me, but they're very difficult to get to with traffic and then parking problems. Microsoft set up a kiosk in an easier-to-get-to mall about 45 minutes away. However, when I visited they only had Surface RT tablets and someone was returning one for failing to run their favorite programs (duh). Putting Surface RT in regular stores like Best Buy is a no-brainer. Having held back from those retail outlets shows how clueless Microsoft's management is. Apple continues to run circles around them.

    Microsoft really needs to clean house. It's been one blunder after another with Surface and Windows 8. I can easily see Surface going the way of Zune in a year or two.
  • 2 Hide
    getochkn , December 8, 2012 4:52 PM
    They need to expand to the retail store so people can actually see the thing and use it and feel the difference between the covers when typing and get an idea of what they're buying rather than dump $700 online for something they have only seen in Youtube videos.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , December 8, 2012 4:55 PM
    If Microsoft does not start selling in other retail stores, the Surface will continue to get poor to modest sales. Many people have never heard of Microsoft stores, and those who have don't want to drive hours just to try one out. Even in the surface TV ads they do not tell people where to get the Surface, regardless of if you see it on TV and want it, you're not going to know where to get it. Even Apple doesn't restrict its iPads to Apple stores, why should Microsoft do it if they have a fraction of the stores?
  • 2 Hide
    bllue , December 8, 2012 5:36 PM
    They could've sold so much more by now if they were in stores
  • 0 Hide
    g-unit1111 , December 8, 2012 5:49 PM
    There are brick and mortar Microsoft stores?

    Yes - they're completely identical to the Apple Stores - right down to the Genius Bar.
  • 4 Hide
    halcyon , December 8, 2012 5:59 PM
    This is the kind of thing that makes MS seem completely and irrevocably clueless. I would love to hear the logic behind them thinking their product was so good that they could withold it from the big retail chains and still do well. Even Apple who might get away with that isn't asinine enough to actually try it.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , December 8, 2012 7:02 PM
    I've been to the Microsoft Store, yes it's very similar to the Apple Store but let's be honest, Apple copied their concept from others ;) 

    I'm holding out for my Christmas bonus, I will personally be buying a Surface RT tablet. I have played with one and love it, do recommend the type cover though. Great device and you might be surprised just how many apps there are for it. May not be 500,000 but I don't I don't need the "pop my zit" or "Hello Kitty" app on my device...
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , December 8, 2012 7:26 PM
    They had better move into non-MS stores! I finally visited my local MS shop today and the employees hardly know what a computer is, and are convinced that the color of a box is the ultimate selling point of a computer.

    On the other hand I did like the overall layout of the store. They just need to hire some intelligent life.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 8, 2012 7:51 PM
    The employees at the M$ stores come from the closed, Best Buy slack jawed yokel, employee barrel at the local unemployment office in Frostbite Falls! Intermixed with cletus you will also find a few marketing majors, Green around the gills, and one M$ "super" expert, kept in a cage, locked away in the back of the stock/employee break room, that I suspect is just a red telephone with a direct link to the M$ store home office helpline somewhere south of (pick any overcrowded city on the indian subcontinent).
  • 0 Hide
    halcyon , December 8, 2012 8:56 PM
    We have a MS stand in our local mall and it just seems like such a me-too endeavor that its really a challenge to give it much respect. However, I didn't want to artificially hate it so I did stop by and look at a Surface RT. Of course the sales guy decided he was going to educate poor dumb me about how great it was. I was honest and told him that I've managed my music with iTunes for years (I know there's alternatives but I'm fine with what I'm using for now). I and asked how Surface would address that. He asked me if my music was in MP3. I said "...some of it." He proceeded to tell me that all my music should be in MP3 format. I politely terminated our conversation and left. I won't necessarily blame MS for the sales-tech's ignorance but I was not impressed.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , December 8, 2012 9:09 PM
    An impressive blend of art and engineering;
    Classy, quality, brilliant, futuristic, well thought-out, and good attention to detail;

    Full-featured full-strengths fully-fledged versatile no-tracking no-spying and long-trusted OS;

    Computer networking, USB, peripheral connectivity, expandable data storage, a convenient file system, HDTV wide screen, outperforming Sub-Pixel Rendering, remarkable battery run time, 2-hour charging;

    Insanely-long support useful lifecycle, more hardware-vendor choices, one-OS one-user-interface for all your computer devices (from phone, tablet, notebook, desktop, all-in-one, TV, car ...? from 4" to 152"?);

    An integrated keyboard-cover, in addition to the multiple choices of on-screen keyboards and pen input;

    A tablet hybrid in magnesium casing with a clicking leg, for the fun-loving consumers (live-windows-tiles interface) and the power users as well;
    Compatible at home, work, and on the road;

    It charms in your hands, thrives on the table, and sleeps in your briefcase;
    Play better, work smarter!

    It does not end here, as you mature, it grows too for many many years to come.
  • 0 Hide
    rodnav , December 8, 2012 11:57 PM
    the reason that Microsoft is only now sending the surface to other retailers is probably because they didn't have enough units to place on the shelves... Same reason that apple doesn't launch its hardware at all it's apple stores worldwide at the same time, other countries receive theirs a month or more after North America... the production hasn't ramped up to supply all the units for the display shelves yet....
  • 2 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , December 8, 2012 11:57 PM
    Does this Microsoft Store have a Window?
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