Kevin Turner today announced that Microsoft’s first ‘international’ store would be opening in Toronto, Canada. Whilst not exactly too far from the US, this still represents the first time Microsoft have ventured from their home turf to setup shop. The first emporium will open to the public in Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto later this year. The stores should be open in time to showcase Windows Phone 8, Surface & of course Office 15.
Whilst most will see this news as the right step forward, I remain a little cautious that this will lead to a rapid surge to get international Stores around the world. Why do I have my doubts? Microsoft often plays in Canada with some of its strategies. I remember the heady days of the Zune when Microsoft announced this service would go international (to Canada). From then until now, it has taken the company years to get some of its core Zune services to the rest of the world. The Zune didn’t end up going international, Zune services only went that way with the arrival of Windows Phone.
On a less pessimistic note, Microsoft has been riding a wave of positivity around Windows 8 and its Surface tablet (and Surface will only initially be sold in Microsoft stores and online). Whilst our beloved Windows Phone is still small in market share numbers, it continues to receive praise from users and critics alike. Boyed by this surge in good feeling it should be the time Microsoft gets it chequebook out and starts buying up some prime locations around the globe and manning the decks for the coming product launches.
If there was a time to get these stores open its now. This year will see the biggest simultaneous launch of products the company has ever seen. Having wonderful stores in which to show them off properly would be the icing on the cake. I have wanted to see a Microsoft Store here in London for a long time. I'd like to buy a signature PC without the bloatware, see MS products demoed and supported by people that know what they are talking about.
What do you think? Where do you think Microsoft should put their next stores and why do you think it’s taking them so long?