Microsoft’s newest product is another shot at Apple

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

As Microsoft opens New York flagship, focus is on its products.

The Sydney store will look very similar to Microsoft’s new New York flagship store, opening on October 26 US time. Microsoft’s first-ever flagship store opens on New York City’s upscale Fifth Avenue shopping strip at noon Eastern on Monday, as the tech giant expands its retail footprint in an ongoing effort to challenge Apple’s brick-and-mortar success.

NEW YORK — When you first walk through the large glass doors and into Microsoft’s Fifth Avenue flagship store, which officially opens on Monday, you are immediately inundated with Microsoft products.NEW YORK, Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Microsoft Corp. on Monday opens the doors to its first flagship store in the heart of Manhattan at Fifth Ave. and 53rd St. — the cross streets of a vibrant and historic local community and internationally recognized shopping destination.

Microsoft on Monday will open the company’s first-ever flagship retail location, a New York City storefront located just a stone’s throw from Apple’s iconic Fifth Avenue glass cube. It will be multi-storey, have polished wooden floors, display screens covering the walls, interactive displays, a place for people to play Xbox, and a help desk for customers wanting support with their Microsoft products.

MSFT 10.08 % will step onto one of the world’s biggest retail stages Monday when it opens its Fifth Avenue store as part of its strategy to boost its direct contact with consumers. The stores feel similar from a design perspective to Apple stores, with open spaces, wooden benches and the help desk – a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by the man behind the design of Apple’s retail shops. “If I was a business leader at Microsoft I’d have made sure the one thing we didn’t do was copy Apple, but there was so much about what was happening at Apple at the time the stores were designed … they couldn’t resist,” Eight Inc chief executive Tim Kobe said. The retail store is one of Microsoft’s 110+ outlets across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, but the New York store is its first two-story incarnation and is the company’s largest in the world.

The store, as you’d expect, is designed to showcase Microsoft’s software services, such as Office, and hardware — including its new Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, Lumia phones, Xbox One, and Microsoft Band devices. The Microsoft Flagship Store is the company’s largest store to date, offering new immersive experiences to engage with customers and partners while serving as a technology hub for the community. Parallel to it in the middle of the floor is a sectiondevoted to “future” products including the new Band 2 fitness tracker and a developer version of Hololens, the company’s futuristic augmented reality headset, which is prominently displayed but sealed in glass. Waiting for that perfect real estate location, which we were able to secure last year, and building out the right footprint, is super exciting for us.” Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner will host the inaugural ribbon-cutting ceremony joined by Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Devices Panos Panay, New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Richard Buery and New York City’s Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco.

Microsoft has been pondering a U.S. flagship location since it began opening stores in 2009, waiting for the right time and opportunity, company executives said. In the weeks following the November opening there will be a digital workshop for girls aged 14 to 18 to introduce them to coding and technology career paths, a creative coding academy aimed at secondary school students during school holidays and a seminar on online security aimed at parents. The first 750 visitors to the store will also receive free tickets to a concert Microsoft is throwing that evening with Jessie J and The Voice Australia winner Ellie Drennan.

It isn’t until you get past the rows of the company’s own gear that you see the first signs of laptops from its Windows partners like Dell, Lenovo and HP. “We’re very proud of our first-party products and you’ll see them featured in the front of the store, but we also don’t want you to just stop at the front of the store.” says Kelly Soligon, general manager of worldwide marketing for Microsoft’s online and retail stores. “So we’ve got a great selection of other products both on this floor as well as on the second floor.” Unlike other flagship retail stores Microsoft’s Manhattan location is almost like a miniature mall. In addition, the first 1,000 people in line will receive complimentary tickets to attend Microsoft’s community concert featuring Pitbull at Rockefeller Center®, located at Rockefeller Plaza on 48th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, at 8 p.m. In moving onto Apple’s turf, Microsoft is taking on the tech company whose 460 stores have become the gold standard for how retail should look and act. The first two floors are devoted to retail and showcasing consumer products such as phones, PCs and Xbox, while the third is a business focused “experiential center” designed in partnership with Dell. According to a March report, Apple’s stores generate a staggering $4,798.82 in sales per square foot on annualized basis—by far the most of any retailer in the nation.

Local New York residents and visitors alike are invited to experience the energy, expertise and service that Microsoft stores associates are known for. Most of the items in the store, which also include devices made by Microsoft’s partners, aren’t tethered, so shoppers can hold and test them and, in the case of its fitness bands, try them on for size. The third floor will showcase an extended selection of Dell products, an area dubbed the “Dell Experience at the Microsoft store.” One signature feature will be the store’s culture wall, an exterior display of noncommercial digital imagery that will change and complement the architecture and facade of the building. Recipients include All Star Code, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Directions for Our Youth, National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, New York Botanical Garden, New York Hall of Science, Per Scholas, PowerMyLearning, Staten Island Children’s Museum, Staten Island MakerSpace, We Connect the Dots, and Women’s Housing Economic Development Corp.

Microsoft, which has a specialty store at the Shops at Columbus Circle, had an opportunity to test the Manhattan market with a temporary store in Times Square during the 2012 holiday season, noted Richard Hodos, vice chairman of real-estate services firm CBRE Group Inc. Asking rents for the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 49th and 60th streets were $3,350 a square foot during the third quarter, according to real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield. Free services include Windows 10 assessment, extended diagnostics on any device, software repair or support, virus and malware removal, PC tuneups, and more. In the largest Microsoft store theater space to date, customers can learn from experts how to use Microsoft’s latest and most popular products for their everyday work and lives. Microsoft stores are committed to delivering outstanding choice, value and service for each customer, featuring an assortment of best-in-class products, including computers, software and games to music, tablets, phones and wearables.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

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