Ina Fried

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Microsoft Expanding Surface Sales to Staples, Other Retailers

Microsoft said Tuesday that it will start selling its Surface RT tablet at additional retailers in the coming days as it aims to boost sales of the device.

Staples plans to start selling the Surface on Wednesday, with other retailers in the U.S. and Australia to be announced soon.

The company, which has thus far limited sales to its own stores and Web site, said it had planned to expand the retail presence after the holidays.

“Based on interest from retailers, we are giving them the option to carry Surface with Windows RT even earlier,” Microsoft VP Steve Schueler said in a statement.

It will be interesting to see if this further angers PC makers, who — until now, at least — didn’t have to compete with Microsoft Surface side by side on retail shelves.

Microsoft isn’t saying how many tablets it has sold, but Surface unit boss Panos Panay said in a statement, “The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see.”

“We’ve increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface,” Panay said.

So far, Surface accounts for just a tiny fraction of overall Web traffic, though that isn’t that surprising considering its limited distribution. The tablet is also limited to running apps designed for Windows 8; a follow-on product, the Surface Pro, will be heavier and costlier, but will be able to run existing Windows apps thanks to its Intel processor.

Microsoft is also turning some of its holiday pop-up retail stores into permanent outlets.

Update: Looks like the Surface is coming to Best Buy as well. It will be on Best Buy’s Website starting on Wednesday and, beginning on Sunday, at Best Buy stores and select Best Buy Mobile stores.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work