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First it was online only, now Microsoft has changed its tablet tack.
The Windows 8 maker has been forced to send Surface to the shops after stockpiles of the 14 inch Windows RT tablet were believed to have been building up in US warehouses, having failed to ignite sufficent demand via Microsoft website and ‘holiday shops’ – the only place one could buy the Microsoft-made tab.

Starting at A$559 Surface will now be sold in retail stores in Australia via JB Hi-Fi which we revealed this week and now it has emerged Harvey Norman will flog Surface also, from Friday.

And ditto for select retailers in US, Canada, China, France, Germany, the UK.

 “We’re excited to be working with JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman to expand the ways in which Australians can interact with, experience and purchase Surface,” Nigel O’Rorke, consumer channels group lead, Microsoft Australia, confirmed. 

However, it seems other major Aussie retailers Dick Smith and The Good Guys, have been given the cold shoulder.

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Microsoft are also ramping production of Surface, it confirmed. 

Microsoft grand plan was to expand Surface to retail early next year, but says retailer interest made the Washington giant change its mind.

(But we’re sure lack of consumer demand and stocks sitting idle in warehouses had something to do with it).

“Based on interest from retailers, we are giving them the option to carry Surface with Windows RT even earlier,” said Steve Schueler, VP Microsoft Retail Sales and Marketing, yesterday.

The Surface tablets could have a big impact in the market next year, Scott Browning, JB Hi-Fi Marketing Manager told SmartHouse last week.

 

However, the popularity of the device depends on the price, Browning admitted, although believes it “will continue to get more competitive. ”

Surface requires a retail presence which breeds demand and shows the importance of demonstrating physical products to the consumer, he said.

Its clear Microsoft online-only sales strategy was bound to end in tears for Surface – a brand new product no one has seen, touched or felt.

Surface costs A$559 for 32GB Surface, 32GB with Black Cover $679.00 and $789 64 GB model with cover.

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