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SYDNEY – Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is expected to go on sale in Harvey Norman stores from Friday, following the software giant’s decision to free up sales of the device, previously limited to Microsoft stores in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico and its Web site (CDN, yesterday).

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The RT models are ARM-based tablets running the Windows RT operating system.

Under the previous policy, sales of the Surface RT are said to have been less than spectacular, with unsold millions believed to be lying in warehouses in the US.

That has led to this week’s so-far unannounced decision to expand distribution tor retail channels in all markets where there are no Microsoft stores – including Australia.

Harvey Norman technology chief Ben Macintosh told the Australian Financial Review this week that the retailer had been urging Microsoft to make the tablet available in stores since launch.

It has been selling through Microsoft’s Australian Web store for A$559.

According to US reports, phase two of the rollout is slated for January, when Microsoft is expected expand distribution of the Surface Pro devices based on Intel’s Core i5 and running Windows 8.

JB Hi-Fi is also to sell Surface, as revealed by Channel News this week.

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