Today Microsoft announced pricing and availability for the Windows RT version of the Microsoft Surface ($499 for 32GB, not including the “Touch Cover”), positioning the product for holiday shoppers. But questions linger around the future success of this device, writes Sarah Rotman Epps in a new blog post.

“Surface may defy categorization, but it can’t defy market realities. To succeed as a product, it needs to expand its distribution footprint: To be in as many retail channels as the iPad by Black Friday would be game-changing but seems unlikely at this point. And if it takes that expansive path, it will do so at the expense of PCs.”

Will this be the right strategy? Epps concludes: “I’m not saying Microsoft is wrong to pursue this [expansion] strategy. I’m saying, though, that it’s high-risk and self-cannibalizing, and reaping the rewards requires pushing its partners out of the way.”

Read more of Rotman Epps’ analysis on her blog.