Coming to its senses, Microsoft will expand Surface tablet to more stores (updated)

Gaming execs: Join 180 select leaders from King, Glu, Rovio, Unity, Facebook, and more to plan your path to global domination in 2015. GamesBeat Summit is invite-only -- apply here. Ticket prices increase on March 6 Pacific!

Surface hands-on 9

Microsoft’s Surface rollout is about to get a big, fat, belated boost.

Microsoft announced today that it plans to expand the tablet’s availability to retailers like Staples in next few days. So far, the Surface has only been available at Microsoft’s online and retail stores, which probably didn’t help its sales numbers very much. Microsoft only has 32 retail stores worldwide (30 of which are in the U.S.), though it did open up a handful of pop-up stores to pimp the Surface.

While Microsoft’s initial (and dumbfounding)  plan was to delay the Surface expansion until early next year, the company is clearly coming to its senses by making that move during the holiday season and not after it.

Will the move boost the device’s sales? It’s tough to see how it can’t. Last month Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that sales of the Surface had so far been pretty modest, but that was only because of the device’s relatively tiny availability. “Soon we will be further present in more countries and stores and that’s when discussing numbers will make the most sense,” he said.

Now that the Surface is only days away from wider availability, it’s very likely that those sales will pick up —  or at least Microsoft hopes they do. Though given our review experience with the Surface, you may want to hold off until the next version.

Update: Best Buy and Staples have confirmed that they’ll be selling the Surface RT on December 12.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

VentureBeat is studying social media marketing tools. Chime in, and we’ll share the data with you.