This past week was a big one for Microsoft. During their conference last week they announced (and revealed) their forthcoming OS iteration, Windows Phone 8, which is said to be a huge milestone for them – both handset and performance-wise.
But that’s not all the news coming from the Redmond, VA-based tech giant.
Microsoft has announced that they, too, following the footsteps of Apple and Samsung, will be opening their first retail store in Canada. Even better? Building permits have popped up online confirming Yorkdale Shopping center as the home for the store.
An official launch date and an exact mall location are both masked in secrecy and, as expected, representatives for both companies are declining to comment. One can assume, however, that Microsoft would intend on having the store open for Q4 coinciding with both the holiday season and of course the launch of their forthcoming Windows Phone 8 and long-awaited “Surface” tablet.
So, what are my thoughts on Microsoft making the jump to retail?
To be blunt: mixed emotions.
It would be great for competition, considering Apple owns the one-stop-OEM-shop in Canada. But, it could also mean inevitable doom for the big box shops like Future Shop and Best Buy. Currently, if a consumer is on the market for a new gadget, non-Apple, they generally hit one of the aforementioned stores for advice. Then you have the buyers (like me) who are swayed from doing this solely based on the knowledge of overbearing commission-based sales guys who are eagerly awaiting my credit card (to be fair, Best Buy is not commission-based, only Future Shop is).
Having focused stores like Microsoft and Samsung (this summer) open up alongside the already-popular Apple and Sony could prove to be a breath of fresh air. Knowing beforehand that you will receive completely educated, non-forceful help could be the catalyst in driving both relationships and sales, especially in the cut-throat industry that is the current state of mobile right now.
At the end of the day, these brands all bring their loyal following of die-hards, so anything they offer will prove to be successful. This, mixed with the highly anticipated launches coming at the end of the year, and Q4 is going to prove to be both busy and very expensive!