Microsoft Store is a chain of retail stores and an online shopping site, owned and operated by Microsoft and dealing in computers, computer software and consumer electronics. The stores aim to "improve the PC and Microsoft retail purchase experience for consumers worldwide and help consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases."
|Founded||October 22, 2009|
Number of locations
The Microsoft Store offers Signature PCs and tablets like the Microsoft Surface and from third parties such as HP, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and VAIO without demos or trialware (pre-installed free trials of certain third-party software that expire after a limited time). It also offers Windows (most retail versions), Microsoft Office and Xbox One game consoles, games and services including on-site Xbox diagnostics. The Answers Desk helps to answer questions related to Windows, Office, and other Microsoft products. The stores also offer class sessions as well as individual appointments.
The first two Microsoft Stores opened within a week of the Windows 7 launch, in Scottsdale, Arizona and Mission Viejo, California. Additional stores have since opened in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Washington. At the 2011 Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft announced that they intend to open 75 new stores in the next three years.
The first store outside the U.S. (and the first of eight stores in Canada) opened in Toronto on November 16, 2012 while the first store outside the North America (and first store in Asia-Pacific and second flagship store) opened in Sydney, Australia on November 12, 2015  In September 2017, the company announced a store on Regent Street in London.
In 2009, Microsoft built a "Retail Experience Center" in their Redmond, WA headquarters and announced plans to build its own retail stores. On October 22, 2009, the same day as the Windows 7 launch, Microsoft opened a retail store in Scottsdale, Arizona. A week later, another opened in Mission Viejo, California. Five additional stores were opened in 2010. A ninth store opened in Atlanta in May 2011, with two more openings planned in Houston and Los Angeles by the end of June.
The Microsoft Store is similar to the popular Apple Store concept, which has been largely successful. The concept aims to give a greater level of customer satisfaction by not only having sales staff but also employing "Technical Advisers" (similar to Apple's "Geniuses") to assist customers with technical questions and issues. In addition "Specialists" (or trainers) are employed to show customers how to get the most out of their software. Xbox One consoles are also available to entertain patrons.
There are Microsoft Store retail locations throughout the US, one Australia, seven in Canada and one planned for the UK. There was formerly a store in Helsinki, Finland.
Digital distribution platformEdit
Microsoft operates a digital distribution platform with Windows apps, games, music, movies and books also called Microsoft Store. It is available both via a Windows application titled "Microsoft Store" and the Microsoft Store web site. The name was changed from Windows Store in October, 2017.
Microsoft Specialty StoresEdit
In May 2013, Microsoft began to launch mall kiosk locations known as Microsoft Specialty Stores, expanding upon the Surface-focused pop-up stores established during the launch of Windows 8. They have a smaller product offering, with a particular focus on Surface and Windows Phone product lines.
Best Buy Windows StoresEdit
On June 13, 2013, Microsoft announced a partnership with the Best Buy chain to replace their existing PC departments with The Windows Store (unrelated to the software distribution platform) at 600 locations in the United States and Canada by September 2013. The store-within-a-store showcases Windows devices and Microsoft hardware and software products (including the Surface, Office, and Xbox lines). Departments for other manufacturers (such as Apple, Samsung and Google) remain separate from the Windows Store sections. Best Buy also pledged to add 1,200 Microsoft-trained sales associates to its stores, and to stock more accessories for Microsoft-related products, such as Windows Phone devices.
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