Redmond, Wash. — Microsoft Corp. on Thursday announced that it plans to open 500 “Windows Store” shops in 500 Best Buy stores across the country and in more than 100 Best Buy and Future Shop locations in Canada. The roll out will launch in late June, lasting through September.
The in-store shops will sell exclusively Windows-based tablets and computers and other Microsoft products, with support from dedicated staff, in an interactive environment.
“The Windows Store creates the kind of retail destination we all want to shop in, combining great selection, the latest technology, the best service and the lowest prices,” said Jason Bonfig, VP of computing for Best Buy Co., Minneapolis. “What our customers will see in these 600 stores is something totally new and fully in line with our determination to transform Best Buy.”
The shops will range in size from 1,500 sq. ft. to 2,200 sq. ft., and will showcase a broad range of Microsoft products and accessories, including software and hardware along with the Windows Phone portfolio.
The initiative comes some two months after Samsung Electronics unveiled plans to install its brand shops in more than 1,400 Best Buy stores this year. Best Buy also has dedicated Apple shops in its stores.
In an Associated Press report, Belus Capital Markets analyst Brian Sozzi said Microsoft shop initiative “absolutely makes sense,” and he expects more store-within-store formats at Best Buy.
“The fact is Best Buy has prime floor space up for grabs, and tech companies want their best offerings in there (along with the customer service), instead of buried on Amazon,” he said in a note to clients.
Microsoft, which operates approximately 65 freestanding stores, said the initiative would add more than 1,200 Best Buy Microsoft-trained sales associates to help customers. Industry experts said the program would give the tech giant
“The Windows Store offers a large-scale, hands-on customer experience that will show customers how Windows and Microsoft devices and services can make it easier for them to work and play,” said Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and CFO of the Windows Division at Microsoft.