Microsoft gets its Surface tablet into UK retail stores, just in time for Christmas

Microsoft Surface in store windows 8 tablet rtMicrosoft sells its Surface tablets through its online store, its smattering of retail locations and most recently, Best Buy and Staples in the USA and Canada, but buyers in the UK have been forced to purchase the Surface through the online store only. As Windows 8 and Windows RT are both very new, most sensible potential purchasers will want to give it a test run before laying down at least £400, something Microsoft’s sales model doesn’t allow.

This will all change though, as on the last-but-one weekend before Christmas, the Surface tablet will go on sale in John Lewis stores in the UK. The department store is the first in the UK to offer the Surface, and will be stocking both the 32GB and 64GB models, both of which will come equipped with a touch keyboard cover. They’re priced at £480 and £560 respectively and come with John Lewis’ two-year warranty at no extra charge.

John Lewis’ head buyer for communication technology said, “We are committed to offering customers the very best tablet range available and believe that the innovative Microsoft Surface is a brilliant addition to our assortment.”

The decision to restrict sales of the Surface to a few locations has met with criticism, with analytical firm Detwiler Fenton quoted as saying Microsoft’s strategy was, “Killing the product” in the U.S. Just imagine what it was doing elsewhere. No wonder rumors circulated of Microsoft cutting orders in the face of low demand.

Getting the Surface into a well-known store – there are 37 John Lewis shops across the country – before Christmas should be beneficial, as despite the lack of places to buy one, Microsoft has been advertising the tablet in cinemas and coffee shops since its October launch. The Surface may arrive in other stores after Christmas too, as electronics retailer Dixons has been rumored to be in talks with Microsoft, but a deal was unlikely to be reached until the new year.