Microsoft is continuing full-speed ahead with its plan to open more brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Microsoft will be opening 75 Microsoft Stores in the next two to three years, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner told attendees of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference on July 13. (In 2009, Turner announced Microsoft's retail store plan for the first time to partners at the Worldwide Partner Conference, noting that the goal was to open stores as close to Apple's as possible.)
On Wednesday at the morning keynote, Turner flashed a slide with a map showing new stores dotting the U.S. I noticed a lot of new stores highlighted for the New England/New York City area. (I've asked for a copy of the slide and for more specifics on locations (including those outside the U.S., that are in the works, but I'm not holding my breath for either.)
Update: Neowin's Brad Sams grabbed a screen shot of Turner's map slide. He gave me permission to embed it in this post, so here it is:
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Update: Microsoft is saying that said that the slide -- contrary to appearances -- doesn't actually indicate the location of future stores. The words "Future Stores" were not part of the original slide, a spokesperson said, and was added by Neowin. (I don't have the original slide, as Microsoft has declined to provide it to me.)
"The future slide does not show the locations of any future stores, it just shows the location of top retail centers across the country, plus our 11 existing stores. The map is strictly illustrative, and we are not saying anything today about the location of any future stores," a Microsoft spokesperson told me today.
As I've said before, I would love a Microsoft store in New York City, where the current in-store PC buying experience is pretty abysmal.
The Microsoft Stores sell more than Windows PCs. They also sell Windows Phones, Microsoft and third-party software, games, peripherals and more. Given the not-so-great experiences many of us have had when trying to buy Windows Phones in AT&T and Verizon stores, I'd think opening more Microsoft stores might do a lot to help Microsoft actually move more phones.
And moving more Windows Phones is a big priority for the company in the coming year, as Turner noted today. Earlier this week, CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged that Microsoft's smart phone share has gone from "very small to very small" in the past year. Turner said he expects the Nokia partnership to enable the company to sell as many as 100 million phones per year. (I'm not exactly sure when Microsoft/Turner expects that run-rate to kick in.)
Turner spent the bulk of his keynote doing what he typically does at every partner conference: Attempting to rev up partners by bashing the competition with lots of one-liners. Today, he took aim at Siebel, Google, Salesforce, Oracle, VMware and Apple. Here's my tweet stream from this morning's keynote with some of his zingers:
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Turner also highlighted Microsoft's priorities for its coming fiscal year, which began on July 1, 2011. He said the Softies will leading with cloud services, putting more emphasis on search/display advertising, pushing hard on Windows Phone, and emphasizing the panoply of Windows devices for both consumption and creation that Windows 8 on Intel and ARM processors will enable.
Like other Microsoft execs said earlier this week, Microsoft is encouraging partners to try to wean customers off Windows XP, IE 6 and Office 2003 and move them to Windows 7, IE 9 and Office 2010. Microsoft's message is that it's an easier transition to Windows 8, IE 10 and Office 15 from the more recent versions of its core products than it is from older, end-of-life ones. One more update: For those asking about Microsoft's store plans outside of the U.S., here's all that Turner said and that Microsoft is saying at this point: "(W)e're going to open up to 75 more stores over the next two to three years, and continue to bring our stores outside the U.S. as well."
More from the Microsoft Partner Conference: