The rumors were true. Microsoft is poised to open two new brick-and-mortar retail stores in New Jersey in the coming months.
The Verge reported earlier this month that according to one unnamed source Microsoft planned to open stores in Bridgewater and Freehold New Jersey. Now I can confirm that this is exactly where the Softies are planning to launch. See this picture from Microsoft's retail-store hiring site that now includes listings for Bridgewater and Freehold. (They weren't there a week or so ago when I checked.)Stanford, Calif., and Austin, Texas, bringing its total number of Microsoft Stores to about 16 or so. The Stanford store is opening in mid-April; I'm not sure when Austin is opening.
Microsoft Stores sell Windows PCs, Windows Phones, Microsoft and third-party software, games, peripherals and more. Microsoft kicked off its retail-store launch plans back in February 2009. At that time, the company appointed David Porter (a former Dreamworks Animation and Wal-mart exec) as Corporate Vice President of Retail Stores
Microsoft's strategy has been to open its stores as close to Apple stores as possible as it expands its retail presence. So far, there are very few East Coast stores, in spite of Microsoft's guidance last year that it plans to open as many as 75 Microsoft Stores in two to three years.
I've seen some folks claim the coming New Jersey stores mean New York City residents will have Microsoft Stores accessible to them. This is not how we car-less New Yorkers think. For many Manhattanites, going to Queens is like going to another planet. Going to New Jersey is like going to another solar system.
So bring on your New York City store(s), Microsoft! Hopefully, by the time Windows 8 PCs are ready to roll later this year, there will be more places to try and buy them....