Following Apple and Samsung, electronics retailer Best Buy announced
Thursday that Microsoft will open Windows stores-within-a-store at 600 of Best
Buy's big-box locations.
Richfield-based Best Buy said the Windows Store sites will begin opening later this month, including in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market. The stores will range in size from 1,500 to 2,200 square feet.
Microsoft and Best Buy said in a joint announcement that those stores will provide shoppers with a way "to see, try, compare and purchase a range of products and accessories, including Windows-based tablets and PCs, Windows Phones, Microsoft Office, Xbox, and more."
Apple has enjoyed great success with a multipronged retail presence -- operating its own fleet of Apple retail stores, and also placing Apple store-in-a-store locations inside most Best Buy big-box stores.
Now Microsoft has followed that same model, unveiling its own more-modest fleet of retail stores, and now, partnering with Best Buy on a Microsoft-only area in many -- but not all -- big-box locations.
"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," Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of the Windows Division at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, said in a statement.
This spring, Best Buy announced that 1,400
Samsung Experience Shop locations would be unveiled in its big-box and Best Buy Mobile stores.
The popularity of those partnerships shows another side of "showrooming," the phenomenon of shoppers browsing in stores and then purchasing online. Even with the rise of the Internet, product manufacturers still need and want places for consumers to touch, feel and experiment with their gadgets -- and Best Buy still offers a powerful platform, as the nation largest's consumer electronics seller.
The partners also released a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ymkip6gEKo&feature=youtu.be.
Best Buy's stock was up 21 cents midday Thursday at $27.09.
Tom Webb can be reached at 651-228-5428. Follow him at twitter.com/TomWebbMN.
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