I'm curious if it has anything to do with the OEM's whining and crying about Microsoft building hardware in the first place. Remember, some of them expressed great concern that MS could undercut and price the OEM's out of the Surface market while also having the nicest build quality of them all. Perhaps keeping to Microsoft only stores through 2012 was some sort of agreement with the OEM's to try and ease their concerns and keep them as software customers. I also wonder if that is why Microsoft waited until the very last minute to announce price. Let the OEM's set the market price, then MS sets their price accordingly. I have a feeling judging by all of the very early talk that MS was looking to launch at a much cheaper price on both the RT and Pro, but followed the OEM's lead and happily made more profit. This is all just my opinion, but it all started adding up over time leading to the Surface launch.I would love to hear the logic behind them thinking their product was so good that they could withold it from the big retail chains and still do well. Even Apple who might get away with that isn't asinine enough to actually try it.