The Financial times are reporting that MS is now talking with UK landlords to secure outlets for opening its first stores outside of the Americas.
The company is said to be confident that the first outlets can be opened during 2013 pending an internal review of their US stores.
The internal review of their existing stores is said to be taking place to study how well they have performed and which formats have worked best. Currently MS have rolled out their retail stores in Canada, US and Puerto Rico but thus far no stores exist outside of the Americas. We have previously reported on rumours to take the stores globally but these talks could now signal more firm preparations.
As Microsoft increasingly moves to bolster their wider eco system offerings with Music, Video and cloud connected services they also have plans to increase their device portfolio. Seen as an essential part of their devices and services strategy is the need to produce computing devices to complement the services running in the cloud.
We have just seen the biggest shake up of products and services the company has ever rolled out. With that has come the addition of the Surface tablets and strong indications that MS are keen to produce their own smartphone. With the current product refresh we have seen traditional retailers fail to take advantage of the next wave and marketing has been weak leading some to speculate that sales of Windows 8 have thus far been weak.
Securing more retail outlets is seen as key to reversing a trend of negative mindshare from consumers about Microsoft. Having flagship stores will provide the best possible way to experience and buy into the MS eco system. Like Apple the MS stores offer classes and training for customers which during this time of massive changes to the UI across all its platforms could be invaluable in retaining folks who are confused by the new metro way of doing things.
Also of interest is that the US stores are to be put under the spotlight before any future expansion will get the green light. Just how well the existing retail outlets have done is difficult to determine but the need to provide a premium way to experience the products globally, even if in singular flagship stores is evident.
If rumours are true regarding a Surface Phone and new Xbox products then the stores will provide the best platform to show off their products to the public.
Source: Financial Times