"Well, unlike a lot of store-within-a-store concepts, this will actually be a department-level takeover within Best Buy stores," Capossela said. "And they will be massive in size, up to 2,200 square feet in some locations. The other unique thing about the Windows Store is the people. There will be an additional 1,200 staff on hand to provide a great customer experience, whether it's choosing the right PC or showing consumers how to stream Xbox music through their Surface. Finally, the online experience should be fantastic. We'll have a full online Windows Store experience that will mirror the in-store look-and-feel and offer a full range of Microsoft products, even those from other places in the Best Buy store."
And that's not all. Surface and other Windows tablets will be showcased in the tablet department, Windows Phones will be predominantly displayed in the phone department, and so on.
Capossela said that shoppers could expect an "innovation table" in the front, the ecosystem section, and a back wall with accessories and other devices. "It's something that has to be seen to be believed," he said.
Of course, Microsoft already has a network of retail locations: the Microsoft Stores. Currently, Microsoft owns 68 Microsoft Stores within the United States, each performing much the same function as the Best Buy showcases. A Microsoft spokeswoman said that the two retail experiences will coexist.
"Microsoft remains committed the Microsoft Store network," Microsoft said in a statement. "With 68 stores open in North America, Microsoft is excited about the success to our growing network. However, Best Buy is the No. 1 retailer for computers, and we felt this was also a great opportunity to offer a superior buying experience for the millions of customers who rely on Best Buy to learn from and purchase their computers."
One analyst, however, said that Microsoft's move is too little, too late.
"Microsoft's Windows Store represents a vital strategic step forward in its retail strategy, and ought to yield some benefits," Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder said. "At the same time, the move should have happened several years ago, it isn't quite as ambitious as it might have been, and Microsoft will have to work hard to overcome legacy practices within the Best Buy ecosystem. All in all, the opportunities outweigh the challenges with this move. But Microsoft will not rise to the strategically stellar position currently occupied by the Apple Store, which remains the most impressive achievement in retail in any category."
Microsoft: "Windows Everywhere"
Meanwhile, Microsoft has been quietly repositioning itself as an ecosystem provider, rather than an as a purely software-and-services creator. That has been on display within a new series of ads that Microsoft has launched, including a Surface ad that showcases how users can be more productive using Microsoft Office, which comes bundled on the cheaper Surface RT.
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