Microsoft has announced commercial expansion for the Surface tablet to 17 new markets.  Those markets include: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and UK.

The move to expand Surface sales into the new regions also includes value-added services for businesses such as asset tagging, custom imaging, recycling, data protection, and onsite service and support.

The timing is not coincidental. Microsoft believes that Windows 8.1 (rolling out on October 18th) includes more than enough features to make the Surface tablet palatable to business consumers. In our continuing series on Windows 8.1 for businesses (The IT Guide to Windows 8.1), you can get a sense of Windows 8.1's business focus, though many of the Enterprise-level features will require companies to also rollout Windows Server 2012.

Microsoft explains the depth of their new expansion in a blog post, which includes a FAQ and the list of specific vendors selected to participate.  You can read all about it here:  Surface rolls out next phase of business channel availability in 17 new markets