Microsoft (MSFT) plans to open 600 Windows Stores in an exclusive store-within-a-store arrangement with big box retailer Best Buy (BBY), with the first rollout beginning this month and extending through September.
Five hundred of the Windows Stores will be housed in Best Buys in the United States, with the remainder located in Best Buy and Future Shop outlets in Canada, according to the companies. Microsoft currently operates 68 standalone stores.
Microsoft already sells its Surface tablets at Best Buy locations and plans to add some 1,200 support specialists to the existing staff working now at the retail sites to back the new initiative. The companies intend to set up a website to provide updates on store locations, promotions and other joint marketing efforts thoughout the year.
“The Windows Store offers a large-scale, hands-on customer experience that will show customers how Windows and Microsoft devices and services can make it easier for them to work and play,” said Tami Reller, Microsoft Windows chief marketing officer and chief financial officer.
“We’re pleased to partner with Best Buy in bringing the latest technologies to consumers at scale in a unique environment where they can explore how Microsoft products fit together across entertainment, travel, music and other scenarios,” she said.
The Best Buy Windows Stores, which will range in size from 1,500 square feet to 2,200 square feet, will serve as a location for consumers to view, demo, compare and purchase Windows-based tablets and PCs, Windows Phones, Microsoft Office, Xbox and other select products, Microsoft said. The outlets will offer a dedicated area showcasing Windows in action with ultrabooks, convertibles, detachables, All-in-One PCs and portable devices, and a special standalone area reserved for Microsoft’s Surface tablets.
“Best Buy’s chief goal is to serve our customers as only we can, whether they come to us online or in stores,” said Jason Bonfig, Best Buy Computing vice president. “The Windows Store creates the kind of retail destination we all want to shop in, combining great selection, the latest technology, the best service and the lowest prices. What our customers will see in these 600 stores is something totally new and fully in line with our determination to transform Best Buy.”