Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to make Microsoft Surface available at additional retailers as soon as mid-December. In addition, the company announced the extension of the Microsoft holiday stores, including the transition of several of the stores into permanent Microsoft retail outlets. "The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see. We've increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface," said Panos Panay, general manager, Microsoft Surface. As early as mid-December, consumers will be able to go to retail stores in the United States and Australia to purchase a Surface with Windows RT. Additional availability will be added in a number of countries in the coming months. "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, corporate vice president, Microsoft Retail Sales and Marketing. Surface will continue to be available for purchase at all Microsoft retail stores in the United States and Canada and online in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Based on the success of the Microsoft holiday stores, the company will extend all of these locations into the new year. These stores will transition into either permanent brick-and-mortar retail outlets or specialty store locations. Microsoft stores will continue to offer best-in-class technology and a premium retail experience, allowing customers to interact with Microsoft products that impact the way people live, work and play. All Microsoft stores provide consumers with the same excellent choice, value and service in an engaging way to experience the best of Microsoft products. Starting at $499, Surface combines the functionality of a laptop with the portability of a tablet. From the fun and unique touch cover that provides a super-thin, spill-resistant keyboard in a variety of vibrant colors to the integrated kickstand that enables hands-free entertainment, Surface stands out while delivering value and performance like nothing else on the market. With Windows apps, SkyDrive cloud connectivity, HD video, Xbox Music, games, a full-size USB port, a microSD card slot and the productivity of Office Home & Student 2013 RT, Surface with Windows RT brings work and play together in style.