Microsoft “considering” bringing Surface Pro to reseller ch...

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) made a shift in distribution strategy earlier this month when it announced its Surface RT tablet would now be available through select retail channels in Canada, and a company executive confirms the upcoming Surface Pro tablet will also sell through retail. As for the reseller channel, not just yet.

In an interview with CDN, Greg Barber, vice-president of the consumer channels group for Microsoft Canada, confirmed the vendor shifted course on its initial distribution strategy for the Surface – direct from Microsoft only, through its web site and Microsoft-branded stores – for one primary reason: demand.

RELATED STORY: Microsoft brings Surface tablet to retail – is the channel next?

“We’d sowed a lot of interest and there was a very limited number of places for consumers to get Surface,” said Barber. Microsoft’s first (and currently only) store in Canada just opened late last year. “So we expanded the number of locations in Canada dramatically by adding Future Shop, Best Buy and Staples, and certainly they were asking for it. People were coming into their stores and asking for Surface.”

The Surface RT, which runs the lighter version of Windows and only allows users to run apps downloaded from Microsoft’s app store, launched last fall. The Surface Pro, which runs the full Windows 8 OS and will allow users to install any Windows 8 application, will launch in Canada Feb. 8. Barber confirms that it too will be available through the same retail channels.

While the Surface RT is more consumer-focused, the Surface Pro is a good fit for business and would give Microsoft partners another device to offer their customers looking for a tablet solution. However, Barber said they’re not announcing channel distribution for the Surface Pro. At least not yet.

“The only expansion we’ve done now beyond the Microsoft store is just to those (retail) partners,” said Barber. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from partners and we’re absolutely considering that feedback but we have nothing to communicate right now. But it’s encouraging, all the demand we’ve been getting.”

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