Analysts have said Microsoft's entrance into the tablet market would create a rift with PC makers, which are key to selling more copies of Windows. But analysts also said Microsoft is looking to gain control of its hardware, software and services, and perhaps also wants to create a reference design of Windows devices for PC makers. But with the starting price at $499, Microsoft's Surface tablet competes directly with tablets from other Windows device makers.
Surface will be available for purchase starting Oct. 26 at Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and Canada. Taking a cue from Apple, the Surface tablet will be on display through Microsoft's retail locations and "pop up" stores, which are temporary stores or retail kiosks that will be set up at various locations and malls in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The Surface will be available online in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, U.K. and the U.S.
The Surface was introduced in June. The company also announced a version of Surface called the Surface Pro with an Intel Core processor and Windows 8 Pro, but specific pricing and availability information for that product has not been announced. The Surface with Windows 8 Pro also has a 10.6-inch screen, is heavier at 903 grams and has an Intel Core i5 processor based on Ivy Bridge microarchitecture. It has a host of features such as USB 3.0 ports and up to 128GB of storage, and is largely targeted at the enterprise or power users who need PC functionality.