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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Microsoft to Open Retail Stores

To learn about consumer purchasing behavior
Microsoft has decided to step into retailing and will open Microsoft retail outlets. As per Microsoft's spokesperson, the company plans a 'small number' of stores. Microsoft obviously will be ridiculed for following a rival company's, Apple's, retail strategy. Microsoft intends to step into retailing to create a deeper engagement with consumers and to learn about their purchasing behavior.

David Porter, ex-Wal-Mart retail veteran, will join Microsoft as the corporate vice president of retail stores from 16th February. Porter, in the company's statement, said, "There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for its customers." Hence, it's clear that Microsoft wants to put Porter's retail experience to best use for their next retail venture.
Whether Microsoft likes it or not, a comparison with rival's, Apple's, retail store strategy is bound to happen. Apple's retail stores have highly trained sales staff, eye-catching store architecture, and their entire product line-up. Hence, the Microsoft retail store can also be expected to have trained sales staff and a variety of Microsoft-branded products.
What about the existing retail partners of Microsoft? Well, Microsoft intends to learn the first lessons in retailing themselves and then pass on the knowledge to their retail buddies, who are sure to be irked initially.
Microsoft will surely face challenges with the economic downturn on one hand and rival Apple's stable sales in the previous quarters on the other. Not surprisingly, Apple is also planning a major store space reorganization to emphasize more on consumer education, and software will be the primary focus.

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