Microsoft expands retail distribution for surface

Even as Microsoft expands retail distribution for its Surface with Windows RT product, Microsoft partners say the software giant’s Apple-focused consumer strategy for its fledgling tablet is sinking Surface and taking its toll on Windows 8.

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Microsoft expands retail distribution for surface The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see, says Panay.
By  Manda Banda Published  January 17, 2013

Even as Microsoft expands retail distribution for its Surface with Windows RT product, Microsoft partners say the software giant’s Apple-focused consumer strategy for its fledgling tablet is sinking Surface and taking its toll on Windows 8.

Software giant Microsoft recently outlined plans to make its Surface tablets available at additional retailers. In addition, the company has revealed the extension of the Microsoft holiday stores, including the transition of several of the stores into permanent Microsoft retail outlets.

“The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see. We have increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface,” said Panos Panay, general manager, Microsoft Surface.

As early as mid-December 2012, consumers were able to go to retail stores in the United States and Australia to purchase a Surface with Windows RT. Additional availability will be added in a number of countries in the coming months.

“Our plan has been to expand the retail presence for Surface after the first of the year. Based on interest from retailers, we are giving them the option to carry Surface with Windows RT,” said Steve Schueler, corporate vice president, Microsoft Retail Sales and Marketing.

Surface will continue to be available for purchase at all Microsoft retail stores in the United States and Canada and online in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The software giant is yet to reveal plans on how it will retail or distribute its much touted Surface tablet to channel partners and consumers in the Middle East region, but revealed in a statement that based on the success of the Microsoft holiday stores, the company will extend all of these locations in 2013. These stores will transition into either permanent brick-and-mortar retail outlets or specialty store locations.

Microsoft, which up until now has been selling Surface with Windows RT through 31 Microsoft retail stores and 34 smaller holiday specialty stores, as well as through its website, has began selling the product through other retailers, including Staples and Amazon.com.

Microsoft said its stores will continue to offer best-in-class technology and a premium retail experience, allowing customers to interact with Microsoft products that impact the way people live, work and play. All Microsoft stores provide consumers with the same excellent choice, value and service in an engaging way to experience the best of Microsoft products.

However, partners say Microsoft would have seen better sales traction if it exploited its monopoly position and huge installed base in the business-productivity software market with Office and Windows. Instead they say Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has decided to battle Apple where the iPad and iPhone marketing machine is almost unassailable: in the consumer market.

Ballmer admitted that Microsoft is determined not to cede any consumer ground in its battle with Apple when he asserted last year that the company would leave no “stone unturned” in its innovation battle with Apple.

Starting at US$499, Surface combines the functionality of a laptop with the portability of a tablet. From the fun and unique touch cover that provides a super-thin, spill-resistant keyboard in a variety of vibrant colors to the integrated kickstand that enables hands-free entertainment, Surface stands out while delivering value and performance like nothing else on the market. With Windows apps, SkyDrive cloud connectivity, HD video, Xbox Music, games, a full-size USB port, a microSD card slot and the productivity of Office Home and Student 2013 RT, Surface with Windows RT brings work and play together in style.

First unveiled in June 2012, Surface represents an extension of the Windows experience, letting customers work, play and connect with others. From its ultra light durable casing, integrated kickstand and Touch Cover, which allow customers to be productive anywhere, to a full-sized USB port, 16:9 widescreen, high-definition display and 22-degree angle that make it optimal for viewing and sharing content easily, Surface lets customers seamlessly transition between entertainment and creation.

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