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Microsoft has announced that its Surface tablet will soon be available from more retail outlets. Until now, consumers have only been able to purchase the tablet at Microsoft stores, which many observers believe has dampened sales.
InformationWeek's Paul McDougall reported, "Microsoft is hoping to jumpstart sales of its struggling Surface RT tablet by offering the device for sale at major retail outlets. Since its launch on Oct. 26, Surface RT has been available only through Microsoft's online store or at company-owned brick-and-mortar locations. On Tuesday, Microsoft said Surface RT would hit major retail outlets in mid-December. Surface Pro, which runs Windows 8 Professional, is slated to ship in January."
Mashable quoted Microsoft's Steve Schueler who said, "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 even earlier."
Computerworld's Matt Hamblen noted, "The announcement comes on the heels of lowered sales predictions for the Surface RT by analysts, with potentially only 600,000 of the tablets sold this year. The Surface RT, launched on Oct. 26, starts at $499. Microsoft didn't indicate how many third-party stores, or which ones, it will rely on for sales. But Staples released a statement saying it would carry the Surface RT tablet at all its stores as well as online. Best Buy is also expected to sell the tablet."
In a press release, Best Buy confirmed that it would be among the first to sell the tablet, writing, "The Surface will also be available in all Best Buy and select Best Buy Mobile specialty stores nationwide this Sunday, Dec. 16."