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Surface Tablets Expanding into Non-Microsoft Stores?

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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  • There are brick and mortar Microsoft stores?
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    Krog216There are brick and mortar Microsoft stores?SUPER ULTRA MEGA FACEPALM CUBED
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    Krog216There are brick and mortar Microsoft stores?
    Uh, there's a thing called Best Buy, Staples, Office Max, Walmart, and Target.
    Reply
  • wemakeourfuture
    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.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    Krog216There are brick and mortar Microsoft stores?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Store
    Only 32 (Apple has almost 400) but you won't get the Apple "experience" there.
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    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.
    Reply
  • bystander
    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.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    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.
    Reply
  • getochkn
    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.
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply