Outside observers don’t seem to have figured out that Microsoft’s Surface hardware is a long-term play. As the company proved with Xbox, it’s willing to spend big money for years to build a market. Analysts who take a superficial or short-term view will focus on the losses. Inside Microsoft, I suspect those are considered investments.
Because the company has refused to discuss its sales expectations in detail or provide hard numbers for unit sales to date, news outlets and analysts have scurried to make up both numbers. The result is predictable, as in this AllThingsD report that speculated (from the flimsiest of rumors and one analyst’s guesstimates) that early demand for Surface is “lousy” and that lack of distribution is “killing the product.”
That criticism is about to change.
As of tomorrow, Microsoft says it is increasing production on the Surface RT and will begin selling the Surface RT in non-Microsoft outlets in the United States, including Staples. Its holiday pop-up stores will remain open into January, with some of them turning into permanent outlets.
And the Surface Pro, which is similar in design to the current model but will run Windows 8, will be available from those outlets as well.
After two months with the Surface RT, I’ve come to appreciate its strengths. More details on that subject at ZDNet in a few days.