Microsoft handled the launch of its Surface RT entirely in-house. Copies of the flagship Windows RT tablet were available for purchase only through the Microsoft online store and through official Microsoft retail stores that have popped up in malls across North America.

But nobody expected Microsoft’s in-house retail focus to last for long. And renowned Windows blogger Paul Thurott recently announced that Microsoft would be expanding the sale of the Surface beyond existing outlets in the very near future – as soon as January 2013.

Another renowned Windows blogger – Mary Jo Foley – argued that Microsoft was implementing a two-phase sales expansion plan that would release the Surface RT around the world before circling back and becoming available in third-party retail stores around Canada and the United States.

So if you’re European, Australian, or from some other part of the world, you can expect to see the Surface RT arriving in stores near you very soon. And if you live in North America and don’t want to order the Surface RT online, then you should be able to head down to your local Best Buy as soon as January 2013 to pick up your very own Surface RT.

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