Microsoft Expands Surface Retail Availability to Boost Sales

Microsoft Surface RT

Microsoft Surface RT | Microsoft Official Website

A Boston-based wealth management firm, Detwiler Fenton, said last week that Microsoft could sell 500,000 to 600,000 Surface tablets this holiday season. However, it is way below the previous expectation of one to two million.

Due to this, it was reported that Microsoft Surface’s lack of retail presence is killing its sales. Thus, the company was prompted to expand its availability beyond their brick-and-mortar retailers.

Microsoft Surface: Heading to Third-party Retailers

Surface project’s general manager Panos Panay revealed that the Microsoft Surface will go on sale at North American retailers. It is also expected that the tablet will be available to third-party retailers in Australia this month, while more countries are expected to follow suit soon.

The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see. We’ve increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface.

Although Panay did not specify the retailers that will sell the Surface tablet, it was reported that Staples has started stocking the Microsoft device since yesterday. The general manager did not reveal either how many Surface units were being produced for the device’s expanded retail availability.

Prior to this, the Microsoft Surface was only available in the company’s retail store. There were also signs that consumer interest for the tablet has been limited.

Based on one survey conducted during Black Friday, Microsoft Store at Mall of America in Minneapolis saw 47 percent less foot traffic compared to Apple Store, which is just opposite of the establishment. Moreover, Apple Store had an average of 17.2 items sold per hour compared to Microsoft’s 3.5 items sold per hour. It was also revealed that none of those products sold were Surface tablet.

Microsoft Windows 8: A Letdown Feature

Last month, Microsoft CEO made headlines when he said that sales of their Surface tablet made a “modest” start.

The company’s latest device runs a new Microsoft RT operating system, although it is not compatible to legacy Windows applications. It is largely driven by the touchscreen-friendly Metro interface. However, users can also access the traditional Windows desktop interface.

Microsoft Surface’s hardware design received praised from initial reviews, but the software was characterized as a letdown. The difference is more apparent when compared to Apple’s iOS ecosystem. As posted on Apple Insider last October:

Initial takes on Microsoft’s new Surface tablet find the hardware could be a competent laptop replacement, but it’s held back by the Windows RT software which can’t compete with Apple’s iOS ecosystem.

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