Microsoft has confirmed that October 26th is the day when both the long awaited Windows 8 operating system and the Microsoft Surface tablet will be made available simultaneously. However, the confirmation did not come from one of its usual avenues or even a press release.
Instead, Microsoft’s quarterly 8-K filing with the SEC was the source for the news, as Microsoft previously refused to give hard dates for availability outside of a vague Fall timeframe for Windows 8, Microsoft Surface and Windows Phone 8, all of which are meant to coexist together in a unified front against the current market leaders in iOS and Android, with Microsoft aiming to be #3 in terms of total marketshare.
With both Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface launching on the same date, more questions also have to be posed about Surface availability and how interested consumers will actually be able to preview the Windows RT version of the device, as the tablet is being intentionally limited to Microsoft Store locations and Microsoft has so far refused to disclose if any alternatives will be made available to purchase the tablet outside of those locations.
Microsoft has also refused to comment on the intentional limitation being a ploy to get people to visit the stores in general, as there are currently 26 locations total scattered around disparate markets in the US with no consistent expansion plan other than a vague plan to open up additional stores to total 76 locations in the next few years.
As Surface is one part of Microsoft’s renewed effort to remain relevant in the face of Apple and Google, what remains to be seen is how it will fare with two distinct models, as the x86 Surface Pro model will not be released until the holiday season and compounds Microsoft’s urgency to make the initiative successful, while being all too willing to incur the silent wrath of its OEM partners in order to do so.