The launch of Microsoft’s Surface tablet tomorrow is generating lots of buzz, but will it generate lines?

Actually, the answer is already yes, at least in Beijing — where hundreds of people reportedly waited to be among the first to buy the new Microsoft tablet.

In the United States, the company is taking steps to promote lines with the offer of a one-year Xbox Music Pass — worth $99.90 — to the first 100 customers in line at its Microsoft Stores. Here are the text and terms of the offer, from the Microsoft Store site …

First 100 people in line when doors open receive a year’s Xbox Music Pass, a value of $99.90, with purchase.* So be sure to get to your local store early!

* Limited time offer; only valid with purchase on 10/26 at Microsoft store, while supplies last. Microsoft online store excluded. Not valid on prior orders or purchases, and cannot be transferred or redeemed for cash/gift card. Limit 1 per person. Compatible devices and internet required; ISP fees apply. On Xbox 360, Xbox Music Pass is streaming only and also requires an Xbox LIVE Gold membership (both sold separately). Some Xbox Music content may not be available via Xbox Music Pass, and may vary over time and by region.

The strategy is risky from a PR perspective, given that lines typically occur naturally at big Apple product releases. But it’s not a new approach for the Microsoft Stores, which usually offer free concert tickets as an incentive to people who line up for new store openings.

For the record, as of about a half-hour ago, there were no lines at either the Bellevue Square or University Village Microsoft Stores in the company’s home region.

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  • Guest

    If I wait in their line will they give me a $100 credit toward the iPad mini? That’s what I really want.

    • iOSisStale

      Wow!!! You want a mini iPad 2 for a premium price? Oh wait it has Siri!! Lol

  • Luke

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha… That is all.

  • Jordan

    Haha well said guest! “Look, my Surface case can click on! Isn’t that cool? See just like in the commercials. It can click.” What else does it do sir? “I don’t know. I’m busy clicking the cover on and off. I just love the sound of the click!”

    • Mike

      iOS not an Operating System, sadly, it is not at the same level as Windows 8. Probably the shrinking on iPad market to Android hurts…

      • Surfarce

        If it’s not an operating system, then what is it? And what does the “OS” in “iOS” then stand for? And which Windows 8 OS do you mean, crippled RT or the x86 one? All rhetorical questions, so please don’t bother.

  • Guest

    “The strategy is risky from a PR perspective, given that” technically someone could stand in line, be among the first 100 (condition 1) and then decide to purchase a MS mouse (condition 2) to qualify for the $100, without actually buying a surface.

  • guest

    So MS wants lines, but absolutely no longer than 100 people. Interesting strategy.

  • Guest

    The GeekWire popup store at 2nd and Pine will be offering free trips to Mars for the firat 100 in line. At least that’s what the man lined up outside told me.

  • James McClintock

    Microsoft is the most and worst company on this planet. Mr. Gates hire American people to answer support calls.

  • Bran
    • Surface

      That’s just the crowd on the street… not a line for “pay me $100 then i stand in line!!! ” – sorry, the pics are misleading!

  • Eddie

    From Times Square
    …Seems like more than 100 people to me…

  • Christopher Budd

    I understand this quest for Apple-esque lines but think it’s misguided. Like Todd notes, there are risks around trying to seed it. And, I would argue, it’s irrelevant to Microsoft’s core audience and draws attention away from them.

    A lot of the people that form the core of Microsoft’s audience don’t have the time to stand in line like this: they’re people with 8 – 6 jobs, kids and lives. They like and use Windows because it does the job for them and is cost effective.

    That reality doesn’t show up well in lines. It shows up though in long-term sales and repeat sales over the years and across versions.

    Focusing on lines plays to their weaknesses and away from their strengths.

    • guest

      Your last sentence is probably the best comment in this whole section. Successful companies play to their strengths, just as Apple did over the past 10 years or so. Because of Apple-envy Microsoft repeatedly chooses to play to their own weakness and Apple’s strengths. This is something MS can only get rid of by replacing Ballmer with a CEO who didn’t envy Apple in his early career.

  • warex3D

    I don’t want the $100 Xbos Music pass, I want the Surface!

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