Sales of the Microsoft Surface are apparently suffering from a lack of retail presence. To attempt to remedy this problem, Microsoft has decided to expand availability of its iPad competitor beyond Microsoft’s own stores.
Panos Panay, general manager of the Surface project, revealed that Microsoft’s tablet will go on sale at North American retailers this week, according to The Telegraph. Availability is also expected to expand to third-party stores in Australia this month, while more countries will follow suit soon after.
No retailers were specifically named by Panay, but Staples separately announced it will begin stocking the Surface as of today.
Until now, the Surface has only been available in Microsoft’s retail and online stores. Consumer interest has appeared to be limited, as Detwiler Fenton, a Boston-based brokerage firm, said in a research note recently that Microsoft is likely to sell just 500,000 to 600,000 Surface RTs in the December quarter, far less than its previous expectations of one million to two million units.
A survey conducted on Black Friday found that the Microsoft Store at Mall of America in Minneapolis saw 47 percent less traffic than the Apple Store across from it.
It appears that the plethora of other tablet options available everywhere has proven Microsoft’s strategy of “come to the company store” for prospective Surface customers is not working out. The Microsoft Stores have not as yet proven to be a “destination” in a mall such as a store like, let’s say… The Apple Store has proven to be.
Microsoft Chief Steve Ballmer was quoted last month as saying sales of the Microsoft Surface had gotten off to a “modest” start.