According to WPDownUnder, Microsoft intends to release the Surface RT in Australia on October, 26th, which is day one for Window 8 and the Surface line of tablets. Exactly where the units will go on sale is something that Microsoft has, in classic form, been somewhat quiet about.
Even more, according to the report, citing an ‘impeccable’ source, Microsoft will sell the units through a physical store, with an exclusive partner. This matters as before it was believed that the devices would be sold online only.
With as little information as we have on the Surface, such flashes of light as this can illuminate the larger landscape in ways that allow for accurate extrapolation. Here’s TNW’s take on the move: by not only releasing the Surface in Australia, but going as far as working to secure a deal to have it in stores in the country, Microsoft belies its stated intention to only sell a few million Surface units.
TNW has written on this before. Following reports concerning Windows 8 hardware, discussed on ZDNet by its own Mary Jo Foley, and myself on these pages, TNW published the following analysis on the importance of the Surface to Microsoft, and Windows 8 specifically [Bold added]:
It fits perfectly: Here is a great device that runs Windows 8 that has a real chance to become a consumer hit. However, Microsoft has made it publicly known that in public it only expects to sell a few million units of the device in its first year. I have a new view on that: bullcrap.
I humbly submit to you, based on Mary Jo’s correct perspective, Microsoft’s actions, and TNW’s running analysis on the issue, that Microsoft intends to sell more Surfaces than it is letting on. Given the stunning failure (until Google made its own Nexus 7 device) of Android-based tablets in the market, and the utter flop of touch-based Windows devices in the past (remember UMPCs?), is it surprising that Microsoft took the bull by the horns and made its own tablet?
Now, what does this mean in a practical sense? More or less that Microsoft’s OEM dance is a larger do than most expected. Tieing into this are the recent statements that Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer concerning how Microsoft is switching from being a pure software company to a firm that sells devices (like the Surface), and services (software on a subscription basis).
Add all that into the mix that Australia is a market important enough for Microsoft to carve out a physical vendor deal, and the Surface appears to be a project that its creators want to appear to be a sleeper, but that is anything but.
In short, TNW expects that Microsoft’s Surface is not a simple project, but is an underscoring of the fact that Microsoft is its own OEM, and intends on winning at that game.
Top Image Credit: ToddABishop