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12/10/2012
10:03 AM
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Microsoft Surface Coming To Store Near You?

Microsoft hopes broader retail distribution strategy will boost Surface sales, says analyst.

Microsoft Pop-Up Stores: Hands-On Look
Microsoft Pop-Up Stores: Hands-On Look
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Microsoft plans to distribute its Windows 8 Surface tablets, currently available only through the company's website and brick-and-mortar stores, through major retailers, according to a published report.

Longtime Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott said that Surface tablets could start to show up at retail outlets "within days." Thurrot said Microsoft had always planned to establish retail distribution for Surface, "but the software giant has apparently decided to ramp up the speed and make it happen before the holiday selling season is over."

Microsoft has not commented publicly on Surface sales, but some analysts have said that they are running below the company's expectations.

Analysts at Boston-based brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton last week pegged sales of Surface RT at between 500,000 and 600,000 units since the product launched Oct. 26. By contrast, Apple sold 3 million iPads in three days following November's launch of the iPad Mini. "Lack of distribution is killing the product," Detwiler Fenton said, in a research note.

[Will Microsoft introduce more hardware products beyond Surface? CEO Steve Ballmer suggests it's likely.]

Surface RT runs a pared-down version of Windows 8 known as Windows RT. The OS, which runs on ARM-based chips from Nvidia and others, is not compatible with standard Windows applications.

It only supports software pre-installed by Microsoft or apps downloaded from the company's online Windows Store. Surface Pro runs full-blown Windows 8, and it's also compatible with legacy Windows applications and Microsoft's full range of security and management products. Surface Pro, however, will not be available until January, according to Microsoft.

Windows 8 tablets, laptops and PCs are also available from numerous other vendors, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, ASUS and Acer, but Microsoft and its partners have been mum when it comes to sales data.

Windows unit co-chief Tami Reller claimed last month that 40 million licenses have been sold. The number is difficult to interpret however, given that Microsoft has declined to say how many of those copies are preinstalled on systems that have yet to find a buyer.

Microsoft is counting on Windows 8 to make it a player in the tablet market, which is dominated by Apple and, to a lesser extent, devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 that run Google's Android operating system. But to date the effort does not appear to be paying off. Market researcher NPD earlier this month said that sales of Windows-based systems are down 21% since Windows 8 debuted on Oct. 26, compared to the same period a year ago.

Microsoft has not commented on Thurrot's report. The company's stock was up 1.14%, to $26.76, in early trading Monday.

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jfsn
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jfsn,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2012 | 4:59:32 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Coming To Store Near You?
Where I come from, they call that the cut-out bin.
Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2012 | 5:45:48 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Coming To Store Near You?
I was playing with a Surface this morning in a meeting with MSFT. Very interesting device. As a journalist, seems like a nice compromise on form factor Gă÷ I'm always debating whether to bring my iPad or MacBook to take notes on. One is easier to type on, but clunky; the other is sleek, but leads to sore fingers.

Nathan Golia
Insurance & Technology
Leo Regulus
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Leo Regulus,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2012 | 5:46:39 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Coming To Store Near You?
If, back in 1958, you had taken that Edsel and put it up on blocks in the back of the barn with a tarp over it, it would be worth what? today ?
RobMark
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RobMark,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2012 | 7:59:48 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Coming To Store Near You?
Windows sales were down when XP came out also, XP also had mixed reviews . . . XP is STILL in use by millions.
Don108
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Don108,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2012 | 9:38:41 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Coming To Store Near You?
Interesting that MS through their head fanboy Thurott is claiming they were intending to distribute through stores even though MS announced they would "only" distribute on line and in MS stores. Someone is lying.

By the way, it really doesn't matter how many stores carry unwanted stuff. It's still unwanted. Question: How soon before it's distributed through Big Lots?
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
12/10/2012 | 11:37:07 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Coming To Store Near You?
If Microsoft wants to sell more Surface RTs they should drop the price. Half of what they charge will make it a really interesting gadget. Right now it is just too friggin expensive.
DBLBLU
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DBLBLU,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/11/2012 | 2:17:46 AM
re: Microsoft Surface Coming To Store Near You?
Bob. Zune. Kin. aQuantive. Surface. Ballmer's career. May they all rest in peace.
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