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While analysts seldom see eye to eye, the diversity of opinions that the Surface RT has managed to inspire among them is fairly remarkable. If you ask IHS iSuppli, it will tell you that the Windows RT-based tablet is looking set to crack the 1 million unit sales mark in the fourth quarter. Boston’s Detwiler Fenton, on the other hand, expects Surface RT sales to be around the 500,000 mark.
Obviously, this is due in large part to the fact that the Surface RT does not offer the full Windows experience and seems to have very little, if anything, on competing ARM-based platforms. That being said, it would be unfair to overlook the fact that Microsoft hasn’t been all that aggressive with the supply and distribution of its maiden tablet, which is currently only available through its own online store and retail and holiday outlets in the United States and Canada.
That is something Microsoft is now trying to address, according to noted Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott, by expanding the sale of the Surface beyond its own outlets. The Redmond-based giant initially planned to do this in early 2013.
There will be, as ZDnet’s Mary Jo Foley put it, a two-phase sales expansion. During the first phase, which is said to be now underway, the Surface RT is to be made available through third-party retailers in a number of countries across the world. Subsequently, in late January, the same will happen in the U.S. and Canada.