Starting later this month, Microsoft “stores within a store” will start popping up at 500 Best Buy locations across the U.S., as well as 100 Best Buys and Future Shops in Canada.
The stores will be 1,500 to 2,200 square feet in size and will let shoppers try out Windows tablets and PCs, Windows Phones, Microsoft Office, Xbox, and more. Microsoft products will be still sold in other parts of Best Buy, though.
“We will have a great Windows tablet table inside the Best Buy Tablet Department, Windows Phones in their Phone Department, and lots of space for Xbox in their Gaming and Home Theater Departments,” Chris Capossela, chief marketing officer at Microsoft, said in a blog post.
Best Buy has also added a Windows-centric section to its website.
Microsoft opted for Best Buy because they are the No. 1 retailer of PCs in the world, Capossela said. It will also be a good opportunity for shoppers to get their hands on Microsoft products – like the Surface tablet and new Windows 8-based machines – if they don’t live near one of the 68 Microsoft Stores in North America.
During a February appearance at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, then-CFO Peter Klein said that hands-on time is key in getting people to pick up a new Windows gadget. “People really need to touch and see and play with it,” Klein said of the Surface. As a result, Microsoft offered the Surface at more retailers with the Surface Pro launch.
“Retail is a priority, and this partnership with Best Buy is a prime example of our commitment to the customer experience in evaluating, experiencing and enjoying Microsoft devices, and the software and services that connect them,” Capossela said.
Meanwhile, the king of tablets, Apple, has a huge retail presence all over the globe.