Microsoft to launch dedicated Windows stores in Best Buys

Microsoft to launch dedicated Windows stores in Best Buys

Summary: Microsoft is launching in U.S. and Canada dedicated store-within-a-stores for Windows PCs, Surfaces and other related products.

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Making good on promises to improve the Windows buying experience in existing retail stores, Microsoft and Best Buy announced on June 13 that the pair will be launching dedicated Windows stores inside Best Buys.

The store-within-a-store will be in 500 Best Buy locations across the United States and in more than 100 Best Buy and Future Shop locations in Canada. The new stores will be opening between late June through early September 2013. A couple of test stores are launching today, Microsoft officials said.

Microsoft and Best Buy are jointly investing in the new stores, though they are not disclosing the amount that each plans to spend. 

The new Windows stores will range in size from 1,500 square feet to 2,200 square feet. They will showcase Windows-based tablets and PCs, Windows Phones, Microsoft Office, Xbox, and more, according to Microsoft. They will include a standalone table featuring Microsoft Surfaces, a dedicated table for Windows notebook PCs and a center table with Best Buy staff picks of all kinds of Microsoft- and OEM tablets, PCs and all-in-ones, Microsoft execs said.

Best Buy has agreed to make its entire computing department in participating stores into Windows Stores. There still will be dedicated Apple, Samsung and Google stores in various Best Buys, but they will be located off to the side in the 600 participating stores, Microsoft officials said.

"You can fit 10 Apple stores or five Samsung concept stores in the space we're going to have for the Windows Stores," said Chris Capossela, Chief Marketing Officer of Microsoft. 

Microsoft and Best Buy also are committing to add more than 1,200 Best Buy-employed, Microsoft-trained sales associates in addition to the ones already working in Best Buy. There are currently only 100 Microsoft-trained specialists across all of Best Buy's U.S. and Canadian stores.

Capossela said Best Buy also is commiting to stock Microsoft products in other areas in its stores that make sense. For example, the Best Buy phone department will include some Windows Phones in its slots.  The home theater centers are likely to include Xboxes.

Microsoft and Best Buy plan to take "elements" of what the pair are doing to improve the Windows buying experience into the other 800 Best Buys in the U.S. and Canada which will not get dedicated stores, Capossela said. The pair also will be mirroring the Windows store experience online on the Bestbuy.com/WindowsStore site.

Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer of Windows, Tami Reller, said earlier this year that Microsoft believed it could improve the sales experience for Windows-based PCs and tablets by not only growing its own family of Microsoft Stores, but also by working with existing retailers like Best Buy.

Capossela didn't have anything to say about when or whether the company may strike similar store-within-a-store deals with other retailers. They also didn't have more information on when Microsoft may expand this program beyond the U.S. and Canada. He said the new Windows store initiative didn't mean Microsoft had any plans to curtail further rollouts of its own dedicated stores, of which there are currently 68 in the U.S. and Canada.

"Best Buy is still the No. 1 PC retailer on the planet," Capossela said. 

Update (June 14): A couple of related questions answered (at least in part).

Where are the first test stores opening this week? Rochester, Minn.; Fort Worth, Texas; and Louisville, Texas, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed.

Will Best Buy be offering more/any "Signature" PCs (those that are crapware-free)? Microsoft officials said this will be up to Best Buy.

One of my readers asked Best Buy and received this response: "We have developed deep partnerships for BBY exclusive product that strive to deliver better configured and performing products to customers that are specifically tailored from our OEMs to our customers only at BBY." I am reading that as possibly less crapware may be on the Windows PCs and tablets in the new Windows Stores, but it's doubtful we'll see crapware-free devices.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs, Microsoft Surface, Windows Phone

About

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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58 comments
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  • Microsoft to launch dedicated Windows stores in Best Buys

    Just another reason to never go into a Best Buy again.
    Over and Out
    • Sadly, "Crazy Raymond and Eric's Bazaar Boutique" has not opened yet

      Where you can buy $15 gift certificates for synaptic package manager for the "Communication (Multiverse)" apt.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • I agree!

      most people would go to best buy just to buy FOSS enabled products not proprietary.
      LlNUX Geek
      • I hear that

        you should be able to get a machine off ebay. The owner's are giving them away apparently.
        Blogsworth
      • Erm ...

        Buy a FOSS product? Doesn't the 'F' infer 'free'? Which flavor of free are you advocating? Beer or Rights?
        bitcrazed
        • Re: Buy a FOSS product?

          Yes, you can buy FOSS products--I've done so myself. Who said FOSS was incompatible with free-market capitalism? Does "free market" mean you can't make money?

          (Hint: you're confusing "libre" with "gratis".)
          ldo17
      • BUT FOSS

        Buy something that's free!

        Yeah, that makes sense.
        Michael Alan Goff
        • RE: BUT FOSS, Buy something that's free!

          It's been well over 10 years since I've seen either Red Hat or SUSE (or even OpenSUSE) Linux media sold at a brick and mortar retail store, but you can purchase a desktop/workstation subscription online:

          How to Buy SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
          https://www.suse.com/products/desktop/how-to-buy/

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Desktops or Workstations
          https://www.redhat.com/apps/store/desktop/

          So, yeah, one can buy a subscription for Linux software. As an example, the Basic subscription for SLED includes maintenance only (no support) providing the customer with software updates for either 1 or 3 years.

          Several years ago, I purchased an OpenBSD CD set from a local computer bookstore retailer (now purely web-based) in my area. Here's the current list of stores for ordering:

          http://openbsd.org/orders.html
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Little Goff learned something new today

            Thanks to his naivety.
            CaviarRed
      • Well if they don't

        They should.
        CaviarRed
    • I've heard Richard Stallman...

      ... Wants to open Linux stores. Stallman told workers to bring their own supplies to develop the layout, and actually build the store, but they fell through after workers couldn't decide what they were building. Workers were also dismayed to see they had to work under strict construction guidelines, and that there was a cost to running a business.

      Oh, well. Maybe next year. ;)
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Your hearing things

        Through that Borg implanted tube of yours.
        CaviarRed
  • Hopefully

    One will be put inside the local Best Buy where I live in upstate NY. Closest store is in Canada. :(
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Canada... don't go there

      From a Canadian.
      gbouchard99@...
    • Don't know what the widdle saddy :( face

      Best Buy has some of the worst customer satisfaction in the country.
      CaviarRed
  • Funny

    From the article:
    "There still will be dedicated Apple, Samsung and Google stores in various Best Buys, but they will be located off to the side in the 600 participating stores."

    If Microsoft is really serious about stemming the tide, it and Best buy should consider building wide moats filled with hungry crocodiles and only a single, rickety bridge to get across to the Apple, Samsung and Google stores (and back to the cash registers).
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Stemming the tide, or finaly agreeing with everyone else?

      The one theme that always ran through the threads on anything Best Buy related was that relying on Best Buy to sell any manufacturer's product was like going to the casino and betting it on the roll of the dice - it's a crap shoot.

      Seems MS finaly agrees with them.
      William Farrel
    • Hungry Crocs

      would be better than any rabid monkeys.
      Blogsworth
    • Microsoft marketing department

      has reviewed your suggestion and decided to make it their own idea with one exception: only a single, rickety bridge to get across to the Apple, Samsung and Google stores (and back to the cash registers)."

      The marketing department at Microsoft has decided to change this to: "only a single, greased rope swing to get across to the Apple, Samsung and Google stores (and back to the cash registers)."
      DancesWithTrolls