Microsoft increases Surface tablet production

NEW YORK Microsoft (MSFT) says it's increasing production of its Surface tablets and will sell them in more stores. Staples (SPLS) says it will start carrying them starting Wednesday.

The Surface is the first tablet Microsoft is selling under its own brand, and the company is promoting it heavily after its late-October launch. But reviews have been mixed, and there have been few signs that the tablet is flying off the shelves. So far, Microsoft has been selling it online and through its own stores.

Microsoft says other stores in the U.S. and Australia will now carry the Surface, and more countries will be added within months. Microsoft's holiday stores will stay in operation into the new year.

Staples says it will sell the Surface in two configurations, starting at $499. Both run Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 designed to run on tablet-style chips.

"Our plan has been to expand the retail presence for Surface after the first of the year. Based on interest from retailers, we are giving them the option to carry Surface with Windows RT even earlier," said Steve Schueler, Microsoft's head of retail sales and marketing.

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