Can you believe it? Microsoft is finally opening stores across the U.S.. Similar in essence to the Apple Store and the Sony Style store.
Based on what I’ve read, Microsoft will be launching it’s flagship retail stores across 4 of the largest cities in the U.S. (NYC, L.A., Chicago, and Houston). If the stores are a success, they’ll consider expanding. Each store will be 20,000 square ft., locating in the main retail paradise of each city, and will have a hip/modern them (This is a tech company, what else would you expect?)
The store will be divided up into main sections, each with a specialized product in mind:
Windows Vista – Simply called just that, will contain many high-end/mid-range laptops all showing off Windows Vista. We’re not talking about your average Dell’s and HP’s here. You’ve got Sony Vaios, Samsung, LG, Dell XPS, HP new laptops (especially the HP TouchSmart PC), and all of the high-end beauty there is. And surprise, they’ll even have a couple of Macs there too, running Vista (not OS X). Then you’ll also see your array of touch-screen tablets. All of the most beautiful laptops will be displaying Vista there (which means no cheapos – definitely not).
Microsoft Office – A place to show off Office 2007. Separate gorgeous high-end computers running different Office programs. Tutorial books and DVD’s, guides to help ‘guide’ you, and anything to help introduce Office 2007. They’ll also be displaying Office 2004 for Macs.
Xbox Center + Windows Media Center – Mostly about the Xbox 360. You can try out Xbox 360 games on big-screen TV’s and big plump beanbags. You can browse through the shelves of Xbox 360 games, faceplates, controllers, Marketplace cards, and other Xbox goodies. They’ll even show demos of upcoming Xbox stuff (duh). They’ll also be showing off Windows Media Center. Same thing kind of, use a remote and flick through all the nice eye candy of WMC. I think they’re even offering free sodas the first time around to enjoy the experience. Pretty cool.
ZuneZone – A section about the Zune. They’ll display the Zunes (all of them), and allow people to touch them, and you know, do whatever and listen. This would also be a great chance for people to actually try the WiFi thing. Because in other stores, displaying the Zunes are really low-key. So Zune employees will be going around and showing how to share and whatnot. You’ll also find Zune accessories along shelves too.
Windows Mobile – Showing off all the nice ritzy mobile phones using Windows Mobile. Smallest section in the store right now. That’s pretty much it.
TechSupport – Similar to the Genius Bar in Apple Stores. These guys will help you with your Vista problem, Xbox failures, and all that. Microsoft says that all the employees are sure to be real courteous, funny, and of course helpful to the customer.
Other things: Microsoft Surface tables will be there too. Near the entrance. People can play and touch around with them. There will also be a few set-up to display the content of the Microsoft store, just to browse around a take a look see tour. And there will be a few ‘demo of the future’ like things. You know, with the Microsoft Home of The Future?
So that’s pretty much the Microsoft store. Although not everything you see there, can be bought. No, you can’t buy the computers or the TV’s. But Microsoft can help find a deal or service to help direct you to another retailer to buy that sexy laptop. Microsoft might even consider selling computers/cellphones they display there in the future, but for now, nope.
They will sell copies of Vista, Office 2007, Xbox 360’s, games, accessories, Zunes, marketplace cards, and pretty much anything that’s made by Microsoft only.
The stores will all have the nice hip/modern/airy theme that’s common in trendy stores out there. You know, like A&F, Apple, those stores with a ‘feel good lifestyle’ type of thing. The Microsoft stores will all be as high-end and trendy as possible. Bright LED lighting, IKEA furniture (desks and stools for people at computers), back-lit (logos), airy, plump beanbags, sounds, and people.
Your typical Apple store, except with Microsoft products.
NYC : 1600 Madison Ave.
Los Angeles : 136 S. Robertson Blvd
Chicago : 900 N. Michigan Ave.
Houston : 5085 Westheimer Rd. (Galleria Mall)
So here’s to hoping that these stores are a success, and that they’re not so darn boring. I’ll be visiting the one in the Houston. Good luck.
NOT REAL – JUST A DREAM ARTICLE : I will occasionaly make up some realistic stories, and I’m hoping that some Microsoft employees are reading this blog, and maybe take some of my ideas.
I’m not trying to trick anyone, I’m just trying to get some ideas into Microsoft about what they should do. Part of that being the name of this blog is "Microsoft and the Future – The Way it Should be". My blog is kind of a guide I’m hoping Microsoft will try. So please, if you read this whole article, don’t be angry.