Microsoft turns to retailers to help flagging Surface sales

By , Dec 12, 2012

Microsoft’s Surface tablet just isn’t selling. But the company knows – or thinks it does – the reason. The problem with sales is that the Surface just isn’t available in enough stores, the software giant turned tablet maker says. Currently, the Surface is mainly sold in about three dozen Microsoft’s own retail outlets in the country.

After being stung by reports that its tablet wasn’t even selling in Microsoft-owned stores (are you reading this, Oprah Winfrey?), the company announced it will put the Surface on the shelves of third-party retailers, such as Staples. If ‘build it and they will come’ isn’t working, will ‘stock it and they will buy’ be any better?

Microsoft’s Panos Panay tells the Telegraph:

We’ve increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface.

Since its’s October launch, the Surface has been sold only in Microsoft stores in North American and online in Australia and Europe. Panay did not say specify how much production has increased or what retailers would get the tablet.

Staples announced it would begin selling the Surface RT Wednesday. AllThingsD reports that the device is also coming to Best Buy stores.

PC makers, already in a sales downward spiral, may not look forward to the Windows maker hawking its tablet next to a Dell, HP or Lenovo laptop.

As AllThingsD noted, Microsoft announced the decision came after “interest from retailers” and that stores have an option whether or not to stock the tablet. In other words, retailers want the Surface and Microsoft isn’t trying to strong-arm shelf-space for the Surface.

Last week, the Boston-based financial firm Detwiler Fenton said lack of US distribution was “killing the product,” predicting 500,000 to 600,000 Surfaces would sell by Christmas – a far cry from the 1 million to 2 million early expected.

Earlier this week, a report said Microsoft had less than one percent of the web usage share on tablets.

Even with Staples and Best Buy, can Microsoft claim the Surface remains a potential “iPad killer”?

Despite the expanded retailing, the product placements and a plethora of commercials, the Surface is far from challenging the iPad’s leading status.

Throw in the fact that the Surface RT won’t run legacy Windows applications (a compatible Surface is expected in January) and the product may wind up being yet another pothole in the long road of failed tablet attempts.

Which isn’t saying the Surface isn’t a fine tablet…

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  • Lordthree

    I’ll say it. The surface isn’t a fine tablet!

    Poor, poor microsodt sufferers

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      its another ZUUN

  • RarestName

    I feel that people will probably buy this tablet after their app store applications increase.

    • Jonathan

      I agree my friend.

  • Joonyaboy

    But, my grandma wants an iPad. She’s never heard of a Surface and neither have any of her friends that she will show off her iPad to. ….lol

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      lolololo i love that

  • Ray V

    Of course putting it in additional retail stores will help. People want to hold it and play with it before committing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      you mean before putting it down and going to buy an ipad..lolo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000603361739 Osama Muhammed

    their marketing team suck, why would they release surface RT before PRO, why didn’t they do the opposite or just release both at the same time, that actually brought the chance of the surface’s popularity down

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      yup typical dumb corporate decision making.. the TRT should not even exist art all

  • http://www.facebook.com/soto619 David Soto

    Jeff is that your little brother in the pic?

  • DJ Garcia

    Microsoft yet again fails to make a good tablet they just need to leave google to do there work for them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      even google cant beat the iPad

      • DJ Garcia

        Dude LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE WITH EVERYONE ELSE.

  • Jerry

    their marketing team is HORRIBLE!!! The surface commercials are possibly the worse commercials I’ve ever seen. All they show is people dancing to a horrible song holding the surface and how the keyboard clips on with different colors. Never do they show what the surface can do for example how APPLE shows off the iPad it makes people want it because of the way they show the iPad can do. Up to this day I still don’t know the potential the surface has because the commercial shows me NOTHING but people dancing. Microsoft needs to fire their whole marketing team and let go of this corny style they have going on.

  • Jeffery Pierre

    For the love of me I don’t understand why Microsoft chose to just sell this product online and through a handful of Microsoft stores. How STUPID can you be! It’s like they wanted a built in excuse in case product sale numbers were low. C’mon Ballmer who are you trying to fool!

  • http://twitter.com/drewstone2 drewstone

    does it come with the blue-screen-of-death?!

  • http://www.StreetTech.info/ Nicholas L Aranda

    Windows RT was just a poor decision in the first place.