Microsoft is now officially selling its Surface RT tablet at retail locations besides its own Microsoft Stores and website.As of tomorrow, Staples will be selling the device.
Sources close to the company told Business Insider that Microsoft will soon announce more retailers, too. Most industry watchers expect Best Buy, and perhaps Walmart, to also sell the Surface. Staples will be selling the RT tablet for the same prices as Microsoft, starting at $499.
This is a critically important move for Microsoft. Until this announcement, the Surface was only available at Microsoft’s own stores, of which there are 31, plus 34 special holiday “pop up” stores. In comparison, Staples operates nearly 1,900 retail stores throughout the United States and Canada.
By expanding into Staples, far more people can play with the device before buying it.
This move should also stop unscrupulous retailers from buying the Surface from Microsoft and trying to sell it to consumers at an inflated price.
Here’s the relevant parts of the press release.
Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), the world’s largest office products company and second largest internet retailer in the world, today announced it will carry Microsoft Surface at all Staples locations and Staples.comas early as December 12. …
Microsoft Surface features an extension of the Windows experience, letting customers work, play and connect with others. … Surface will be available at Staples and feature the following models:
Surface with Windows RT 32 GB – $499
Surface with Windows RT 32 GB with Black Touch Cover – $599
Surface with Windows RT 64 GB with Black Touch Cover – $699
Customers who purchase the Microsoft Surface from Staples will receive the exclusive ‘8 Was Easy’ offer which includes free personalised training, free support and free startup with the purchase of any Windows 8 computer. Consumers who purchase any Surface regularly priced $699 and above will also receive free data transfer from their old computer.