Best Buy just announced that it will join Staples in selling the Microsoft Surface RT tablet. The Surface is now available on BestBuy.com and will also be available in all Best Buy and select Best Buy Mobile specialty stores nationwide from Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012.
Scott Durchslag, President of BestBuy.com, said;
“Right now the only place you can get a Microsoft tablet is at a Microsoft store. That all changes today as BestBuy.com begins offering the Surface.
Customers have come to expect Best Buy – both its store and website – to be the place with the broadest selection of consumer electronics and our sale of this much-hyped new tablet just reinforces that point.”
This is all great news for Microsoft as the combination of Staples and Best Buy retailer outlets creates vast new channels to expose consumers to the Surface and its active tile-based Windows RT OS and ramp up sales.
Previously the Surface was only available online from Microsoft and at the 31 Microsoft outlets in the USA and Canada.
The Surface tablet costs $499 for the 32 GB version without a keyboard cover. With the touch keyboard cover, the price is $599.99; going up to 64GB of memory and a cover hikes the price to $699.
Best Buy already sells 45 exclusive Windows 8 devices and has invested thousands of training hours for Blue Shirts and Geek Squad Agents to in the Windows 8 OS.
Scott Anderson, merchant vice president for tablets at Best Buy, noted;
“Consumers have heard about this tablet and now even more customers can experience it. Starting this weekend we will have almost 1,400 stores where people can buy it. The Surface is a fantastic add to our already enormous tablet assortment and makes Best Buy the destination for gift givers this year.”
An important caveat is that the Surface RT sold by Stables and Best Buy will not run legacy Windows programs, only apps downloaded from the company’s store.
The ability to run Windows 8 native applications wil only come next year when Microsoft releases the Surface Pro tablet, with its Intel Core i5 chip. Its price will start at $899.
The Consumers Electronics Association said that for 2012, the device consumers most want is the tablet. In addition, the CEA report found that consumers wanted a tablet (8 percent) more than money (5 percent) and peace and happiness (5 percent).