Microsoft confirms Surfaces coming to non-Microsoft retail outlets

Microsoft confirms Surfaces coming to non-Microsoft retail outlets

Summary: Microsoft is going to expand retail distribution for its Surface tablet/PC devices starting in mid-December, company officials are confirming.


As rumored last week, Microsoft is expanding distribution of its Surface tablets beyond Microsoft's own brick-and-mortar and online stores, starting as of mid-December.


The company also is making some of its holiday popups permanent stores, according to a December 11 announcement.

The U.S. and Australia will be first to get more retail stores carrying the Surface RT. "Additional availability will be added in a number of countries in the coming months," according to a Microsoft press release.

Microsoft officials are claiming the expanded retail presence was planned after the first of 2013, but that retailer interest in the Surface RT is leading to the company offering it to retailers even sooner. There is, predictably, no mention in Microsoft's press release of the expansion of distribution being the result of rumored slow Surface RT uptake.

Windows SuperSite's Paul Thurrott said his sources told him a couple of weeks ago that Microsoft planned to make the Surfaces available via Best Buy and Staples in the U.S.

I've asked Microsoft for a list of retail chains that will offer the devices, as well a list of the other countries where distribution will be expanded. No word back so far on either query.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson said the company is not commenting on which countries or stores will get Surfaces, beyond Australia and the U.S. Microsoft also is not commenting on which Microsoft pop-up stores will become permanent. I have heard from my sources that the Times Square New York may be one of them.

Update No. 2: Staples is confirming it will be carrying Surface RTs starting December 12.

Update No. 3: @WP_DownUnder is hearing Harvey Norman and JB-HiFi are likely the first retailers to get the Surfaces in Australia.

Update No. 4: Best Buy also is selling the Surface RT, according to its own Web site.


Topics: Tablets, Microsoft, PCs, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Good move since...

    ...most people don't like dropping $600-$700 on something sight unseen. I'd love to know more about why they initially decided to limit them to the few and far between pop-ups. The Surfaces could really shine in Best Buy since their current crop of laptops seemed lame and overpriced when I went to take a look at them recently.
    Sir Name
    • I agree

      about time!!

      Having them in people's hands will allow for them to actually have a chance of wanting one.
    • To give partners fair chance with their products.

      It was to give their partners time to market their tablets first.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Good move since...

      Agreed. Expanding iPad sales beyond the Apple Stores (and authorized retailers) has helped with iPad sales a great deal. Step 1 - check.

      Microsoft, being considerably late to the tablet party, now needs to substantially drop the price of its Surface tablets. They're still too expensive. Step 2- waiting ...
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Expensive? Much cheaper than current iPad.

        MS surface with 32GB RAM - 499.00
        iPad with 32GB RAM - 599.00

        Unless people are comparing to the older iPads. In that case, same price. Unless you go to Amazon then you'll pay up to 100.00 more for an iPad.
        • Well, until one looks under the hood

          iPad w/32 GB - 29 GB free space
          Surface RT w/32 GB - 16 GB free space

          P.S. You conveniently ignored Windows RT;s bloat.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • HA!

            And you've conveniently compared the $599 iPad to the $499 Surface. $599 will get you the 64gb surface, which is closer to 39gb) and a FREE touch keyboard. BTW even the apple fanboys love the touch pad.
          • Wrong

            xuniL_z conveniently compared the $599 iPad to the $499 Surface. I merely added some additional information with regard to free space. I wonder if the BestBuy, Staples. etc. sales staff will be as forthcoming with regard to device free space?

            Here's my comparison:

            iPad w/16 GB - 13 GB free space - $499 U.S.
            Surface RT w/32 GB - 16 GB free space -$ 499 U.S.

            And if Microsoft Office(Office RT) is a must have, then so is a keyboard. Neither the Touch nor the Type keyboards are free. Their prices are $120 and $130 U.S., respectively.
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • If Office is a must and the selling point then you have to

            also consider that the license for Office does not allow it to be used for commercial purposes. While very few will care and just violate the license it's a valid point since a big part of the Surfaces marketing is that it comes with Office.
          • Jimbo nailed it, and under the hood we find....

            iOS leaves you with 28.5 GB free
            Windows RT leaves you with 29 GB when considering the core OS.
            There are tools and Office applications that do use considerable space but the value of having Office RT on your tablet more than makes up for it in total value, esp. when, as jimbo pointed out, you pay the same as an iPad 32GB to get an RT surface 64GB which leaves you around 45GB free, and 4 Office Applications all of the price of a lower end iPad. So dollar for dollar the Surface is clearly a much better deal.

            Wow iOS is seriously bloated and has surface envy with accessories becoming more like surface keyboard covers. Droid users have been downloading metro look-alikes for their tablets in large numbers as well. It's the future. I think the icon/paging interface is dying.
          • Spin it however you want to believe it is

            but to each their own.
  • Well, you see...

    I read somewhere that the atrocious spelling and grammar are intentional. They do that to filter out the intelligent people who already know it's a scam.
    Hallowed are the Ori
    • Intelligence? You fail to exhibit any in your post, since,

      you posted contradictory statements in your post.

      Intelligent people would not have to be filtered out, because, if they really are intelligent and know it's a scam, filtering them out would not make sense and would be an unnecessary effort.

      The logic of my statement is likely above your head, so, take it apart carefully, and seek help in deciphering it.
      • Nice.

        I was simply relating what I read, like the article here:

        But thanks for being an asshole about it, asshole.
        Hallowed are the Ori
  • So it can Fail there too?

    Since the Surface is a slice of FAIL every way you look at it, I guess they want it to flop at all distribution points.
    • Get a life

      Sent from a Surface XD
    • I think I saw a goat....

      ... go eat it, troll.
    • 600,000 Surfaces sold is not that bad for Microsoft

      People love comparing the Surface for Windows RT to the iPad by Apple. Well Apple has a huge number of more stores in the U.S. alone. That alone allows for greater retail presence for the iPad. And not to mention Apple distributes certain stores like BestBuy and Walmart to sell them. That allows for their already great retail presence to be even greater. And lastly Microsoft has entered a market where iPad, Nexus, and Kindle rule. Them selling even more than 1,000 is good progress.

        Those sales are initial hype, as in MS yesterday fans rushing online to buy and other interested in seeing the product. Afterward it's dead. No one cares about it. Putting it into shops will only damage the fragile retail stores in large loses. Good luck on a crumby designed product made by a restrictive company!
        • no tablet period (yet)

          loses? do you mean losses? crumby? do you mean crummy? (old dictionary says crumby is slang for crummy--so I can let you pass on that one, I just hadn't seen it that way before)
          In any case, time will tell one way or another. By the time I get around to buying one these models will be obsolete and I might be able to pick an old one up for cheap, or I may just pick up an also ran Android OS one for cheap. Or may not buy one period.