This product rendering released by Microsoft shows Surface, a 9.3 millimeter thick tablet with a kickstand to hold it upright and keyboard that is part of the device's cover. It weighs under 1.5 pounds. The device is part of the software company’s effort to compete with Apple Inc. and its popular iPad tablet computer. Photo: AP/Microsoft
A 'deal' with the Suning company means that the leading Chinese retailer will be able to sell Microsoft's Surface tablets through its network of gadget stores.
It looks as though the upcoming launch of Microsoft's much-publicized Surface tablet will not be confined to the US. Chinese consumers will also be able to get their hands on the device and decide if it's as good as an iPad or an Android device. Analysts and experts initially believed that though the Windows 8 operating system would get a worldwide roll out, Microsoft's latest tablet would only be available to US customers, via its temporary pop-up and permanent Microsoft stores (Amazon chose a similar path with its first Kindle Fire tablet, limiting its sales to North America via its website).
However, according to WPDang, the company has signed a deal with the Suning company in China to sell its tablets in the country via its leading gadget stores. The two companies have a strong relationship: Suning is already the official distributor of Windows Phone devices for the region. And rumour has it that Zhang Jindong, Suning's chairman, and its president, Zhang Yaqin, flew into Redmond to discuss ongoing cooperation with Microsot's CEO, Steve Ballmer, in May.
The consumer or 'RT' version of the Surface tablet is expected to launch in the US on October 26, the same day as the new Windows 8 operating system. A higher specification enterprise 'Pro' model featuring an Intel chip and the power to run full desktop versions of applications, including Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office is expected to launch in early 2013. However, there are currently no details about pricing or when the tablets will be coming to China.