June 14, 2013
Microsoft and Best Buy announced yesterday that they are teaming up to convert the computing sections of 600 Best Buy locations into new in-store retail shops called Windows Stores. The 1,500-2,200 square feet mini-stores plan to feature an array of Microsoft products including computers, phones and Xbox video game machines. Windows Stores will be distinctly designed featuring prominent Microsoft colors and logos, and plan to start opening this summer.
“Best Buy for years has designated space for Apple Inc. products, and the retailer this spring said it will turn over space in its stores for Samsung Electronics Co. mini-stores,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “But the Windows Store transformation is the clearest sign yet both Microsoft and Best Buy are responding to being on the wrong end of changing trends in computing and shopping.”
“For months, Microsoft executives have been saying they were working on ways to improve the shopping and buying experience for people looking for computers powered by Windows 8, the latest version of Microsoft’s operating software,” notes the article. “Sales of personal computers have hit their worst slump in more than a decade, and Microsoft executives say the company is working on software tweaks and strategy changes to boost sales.”
Microsoft and big box stores are attempting to replicate the success Apple has experienced with its chain of retail stores, while Best Buy is hoping to set itself apart from online competition such as Amazon.com and discount behemoths including Walmart.
Best Buy said it will continue to dedicate store space to CE products from other companies. When asked if there are plans to launch similar mini-stores with Google or Sony, a spokesman said, “We are obviously working with all our vendor partners to improve the store experience.”