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Microsoft changes tack on slipping Surface sales

  • Posted by Tony Poulos
  • December 12, 2012 7:56 AM GMT
Offering its new Surface tablet through limited company-owned outlets may have been an attempt to establish Microsoft as a retail powerhouse but the experiment seems to have failed with news that it will be offered through other retailers sooner than planned.

It appears that Microsoft is about to extend sales of its Surface tablets beyond it’s own branded outlets. Industry observer Mary Jo Foley, writing for ZD Net, also reports that the company also is making some of its holiday mall popups into permanent stores, according to a December 11 announcement.

The news is hardly surprising as sales of the much-vaunted Surface seem less than stellar, not helped by the restricted number of company outlets it can be purchased from. Exact figures are not readily available but after visiting a Microsoft branded store in Orlando’s Florida Mall last week, I can report that MS is having a hard time pulling a crowd.

At that particular location at around 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning there were no more than four ‘customers’ in the store. A few doors away at the Apple store it was a case of restricted entry as crowds packed in, over 150 at my quick estimation.

Microsoft officials are claiming the expanded retail presence was planned after the first quarter of 2013, but that interest in the Surface RT has pressured the company offering it to other retailers even sooner. Of course, they would not say that poor sales were also a contributing factor.

It looks like the USA and Australia will be first countries to experience the Surface sales spread.