Microsoft will begin offering it's Surface RT devices for sale at more than just the Microsoft store in the coming weeks. Rumor has it that they are expanding the distribution, which was one thing many analyst claimed was the reason for the Surface's lackluster sales figures.
This change puts Microsoft head-to-head with it's hardware partners. This I believe is happening because, according to Microsoft, the slow start to Windows 8 sales is due to lack of innovation in OEM design, and lack of distribution. So is Microsoft fed up with relying on OEM's to sales Windows 8 devices? I think they are.
I was recently talking to a friend about the Surface RT tablet. I told them I was impressed with it's design. It felt like an Apple product. But I told him that the Samsung ATIV Smart PC felt cheap with slippery plastic. He told me that is what he thinks of when he thinks of Windows, cheap and plastic.
This preconception has permeated through the minds of most of the population. They see Windows computers as cheap devices and Apple products as premium devices. With the current crop of Windows 8 tablets OEM's aren't changing that idea. They are continuing the trend of plastic devices that don't feel premium.
That's what Microsoft is trying to change, they want that premium tag attributed to Windows devices as well as Apple devices. Selling the Surface RT in retailers like Best Buy and others will force OEM's to compete with the impressive build quality of the Surface RT.
With the Surface RT already beating the other Windows 8 tablets, the OEM's will have to try even harder to innovate on their device design and build.