Unlike Cupertino’s retail offerings, though taking a similar strategy initially, Microsoft will unveil its stores to be a brand experience rather than a retail sales experience. The Redmond, Washington firm is hoping to get consumers to become more acquainted with Microsoft’s, and similarly its partner’s, products and have customers decide on their own where to make the purchase. Though Microsoft will still sell a few items in-store, it will rely on its locations to offer consumers education about products, training courses, and solutions through what may be called a “Guru” or “Answers Bar,” akin to Apple’s Genius Bar.
The Microsoft retail experience will showcase Xbox, Windows, office, and other Microsoft developments, including Windows Mobile. The mobile OS platform hasn’t received much attention from Microsoft in the past, but in light of new competition from Palm and Apple, Microsoft is raising the stakes and highlighting its Windows Phone offerings more. At this point, it is unclear how many different phones or brands of phones Microsoft will showcase at its retail channels.