UK PC buyers in the dark over Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro release date

Surface Pro

The Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet will go on sale in the US and Canada on 9 February, but Microsoft has stopped short of revealing when UK buyers will get their hands on the device.

The Surface Windows 8 Pro will be available to buy from this date via the Microsoft online and retail stores, as well as Staples and Best Buy in the US.

The tablet will be powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, and is available as a 64GB or 128GB model.

Unlike the Surface RT, whose release coincided with the worldwide rollout of Windows 8 in October, the Surface Pro will be able to run Windows 7 and 8 desktop applications.

We are seeing so much interest in the Surface Pro, if we can't sell it to customers, there could be trouble ahead.

It will also feature a pen-like implement, which will allow users to edit documents and navigate their way round the device using the touchscreen.

The US starting price for the Surface Pro is $899, while the Surface RT retails at around $499. UK availability and pricing is yet to be announced.

According to Microsoft industry watchers, the Surface Pro could provide a shot in the arm for Windows 8 adoption in the enterprise, as interest in the device from business users has reportedly been growing since the RT version dropped last October.

Therefore, the lack of UK pricing and availability details is sure to be frustrating for some, while the firm's network of B2B resellers are also waiting with baited breath to see if they will get to sell the tablet.

Previously, the Surface RT was placed off limits to Microsoft's channel partners, as the software giant opted to sell it directly or through a select number of high street retailers.

Shortly afterwards, Microsoft's limited distribution of the device came under fire, after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggested the sales strategy was partly to blame for the "modest" number of sales it clocked up.

In a blog post, Richard Gibbons, software manager at Microsoft reseller Bechtle Direct, said the software giant should seriously consider selling the device through its reseller network.

"[We] are seeing so much interest in this device that, if we are left unable to fulfil this for our customers, it will be perhaps the biggest run-in Microsoft has ever had with its partners," he stated.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.