Here's what a Microsoft holiday pop-up store will look like

Here's what a Microsoft holiday pop-up store will look like

Summary: Microsoft is planning to open 34 holiday pop-up stores in North America starting October 26. If these designs are any indication, they're going to be very compact.


It's lucky the Microsoft Surface RT is small, because Microsoft's coming pop-up stores look like they're going to be very compact.

Microsoft is planning to open 34 holiday pop-up stores in the U.S. and Canada. (The just-added two, announced this week by the company, are a Chicago and Times Square New York.) They are opening on October 26, the day that Windows 8 and Microsoft's Surface RT tablets/PCs are generally available.

I guess I was envisioning temporary full-size Microsoft stores -- like two-dozen-plus permanent brick-and-mortar stores they are operating already -- when I was thinking about these pop-ups. 

But if mock-ups sent to me from a reliable source of mine who requested anonymity are any indication, the coming pop-ups are going to be tiny. They are going to be more like mall kiosks than "stores":


Here's a photo of what supposedly is the Microsoft pop-up in Los Angeles (not San Francisco, as I erroneously reported earlier) that is under construction from the same contact:


I asked Microsoft if someone would validate that the mock-up and photo are real. No word back so far.

Update: A company spokesperson said the first image is "an old drawing, and it’s not accurate."

That said, it looks to my untrained eye like the drawing's not far off the mark. Here's another image of the pop-up store in Natick, Mass., that's under construction, courtesy of @joel1510 as sent to @manan, ZDNet blogger Manan Kakkar:


It's looking like a number of these pop-ups are nearly built, which makes sense, given that October 26 is just two weeks away.

I asked again today whether Microsoft is intending to open its holiday pop-ups at the stroke of midnight, so shoppers will be able to buy Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs and tablets at these temporary stores. A spokesperson told me that the Times Square Microsoft pop-up will be open at midnight, but other stores will be subject to hours of malls where they are located. The Times Square store is located at 1540 Broadway (between 45th and 46th streets) in New York City.

Update (October 24): Actually, the Times Square store will be open at 10 pm ET on October 25.

A number of us Microsoft bloggers fortunately guessed correctly that this might be the case and already booked a spot for a Windows 8 tweetup/meetup not far from the Times Square pop-up store. If you're in New York City on October 25, launch day, feel free to join us that evening. No free beer (cash bar/food); no RSVP needed. And thanks to Darren Cohen, a k a @FinsUpDNC, who has been instrumental in organizing this event. We are gathering between 6:30 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET.

Update (October 13): Started my Saturday by checking out the Times Square store site. It's right below the new giant Surface ad and next-door to Forever 21. At 8:30 a.m., construction workers were in and out of the site. They're being pretty careful not to let anyone get a peek inside.

Here are a few quick shots:


All of the glass windows and doors are covered over. 


I did manage to grab a quick shot when I found one door slightly ajar. There was a plastic sheet with a giant rendering of a Surface keyboard visible:


As a last resort, I tried asking the guy selling hotdogs and pretzels out front if he knew what was happening inside. Alas, he did not. I also can report he also did not have any tofu pups for sale.


The Times Square holiday pop-up store is set to open at 10 pm ETon October 25. (Other Microsoft holiday pop-ups will open at different times on October 26, so check with your mall before assuming they'll be open at midnight.) From the looks of it, Microsoft's own Surfaces are going to be the big push at these temporary outlets.





Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Tweetup

    I hate the Internet age.
  • I'm ready to pre-order a Surface!!!

    I'm already planning on pre-ordering a Lumia 920 on ATT on Oct 21st...any word on when to pre-order a surface?

    I would go to a store, but North Dakota isn't the first place you'll find one.
    • Preorder

      I hear you. I am in an area with no pop up store and I want to be able to preorder a Surface.
    • Newegg has preorders for other brand WIN8 tablets but no surface

      I want one of the win8 (full) tablets, but AMD just announced their chips for the tablet market and frankly they look like they are worth waiting for with much better graphics capabilities than sandy or ivy bridge intel offerings.

      Based on the prices of these things, more time to save won't hurt.
      • yes, Radeon Graphics is nice.....BUT

        They're also saying battery life is in the 6hr range vs 10hr for Intel's offerings.
  • So excited!!!

    So excited about the Surface tablets & to see the pop-up store in Times Square!!! :)
  • More than Surface?

    Surface is cool and all, but I was hoping my local popup store would have other Win8 tablets as well for comparison purposes.
    • more than just surface at pop up

      I'd think they'd have other Win 8/Windows RT tablets and PCs at the pop ups, too.... They are awfully small, but hoping that will be the case! MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Yes, there will be

        other offerings like Samsung ATIV, lenovo, ASUS, ACER etc. Thats what I heard. Interesting to see that the other offerings are Intel based except for Surface RT, which is ARM based.
        Ram U
        • New AMD tablet chips are nice...

  • I guess "no free beer" makes sense ...

    ... given MS's attitude toward FOSS.

    Sorry, not trolling, just struck me as funny when it popped in my head. And of course, not even accurate, since the point of FOSS is generally "free as in speech" (which is even LESS "MS-ey").
  • Here's what a Microsoft holiday pop-up store will look like

    Looks simple but sophisticated. For a pop up store its very modern. I can't wait to visit one of these and play with the latest Microsoft wares, in particular the Surface.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • He can't be banned, since he keeps coming back with many other handles...

    but, you can tell who he is by his type of remarks and the personal attacks and the stalking he does with a few people on this site.

    He's probably been banned before, but he apparently knows how to get around that.
  • Pop Up Stores: subject to available space

    Pop up stores are built in space that is available on a short term basis. Sometimes that is in vacant stores (e.g., Apple pop up a couple of years ago "next door" to SXSW). Clearly it is sometimes in gallery or other open mall space. The latter type would seem to be easier to build (and permit) and harder to secure.
    John Baxter
  • Exposed

    Very peculiar to leave those 'in progress' locations exposed to view. With these things I'm never sure if this is truly peculiar or that I have been in Asia too long, skewing my perception of what's common business/retail practice.. But my feel is that you don't do this; you board it all up until it's time to go, and then 'go live' with a bang. You only get to make a first impression once, so when people set their eyes on something new you want it to be finished, and staffed by knowledgeable people able to answer questions.
    Han CNX
    • It depends on the location owners

      some don't allow that, while others do, but done so in a way to adhere to the mall's specification.

      They don't want a large plywood structure, or the equivilent in the middle of a multi-million dollar mall hiding the soon to be unvailed popup store.
      William Farrel
      • unveiled not

        Where does one find out where these stroes will be, it doesn't sound like enough will be around to do much good. They should have at least one in every state.
        • Reply to myself

          I found a list in one of Mary's other posts, there will be one in Oklahoma: in Tulsa. As I am in OKC, not just around the corner. That seems to be the way things go, can't go everywhere. It seems like OKC would be better as it is about the center of the state. Tulsa is in the Northeast part of the state, farther away from Western Oklahoma. I suppose there is a permanent store in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
          • Popup in OKC

            There will be a popup in OKC at Penn Square.
        • not necessarily

          Since they're more or less experimental. That store in Natick is within relatively easy driving distance of all six NE states, or at least most of the population of those states. Sorry if you live in Caribou, ME or the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. That'a a pretty good hike.