Microsoft will be opening its own chain of high street stores and has hired a Wal-Mart veteran, David Porter, with 25 year experience to head the operations in what seems to be a direct answer to Apple's successful stores.
The software company already operates Retail Experience centers behind closed doors and has been planning what SeattlePIC called a "multimillion-dollar model of what a hypothetical Microsoft store could look like".
David Porter, who used to work as a DreamWorks executive, has already been named as a Microsoft's corporate VP of Retail Stores and will report to Microsoft COO Kevin Turner who also worked at Wal-mart.
There are no details as to the number of stores that will be opened, where, when and what kind of products will be stored and in a statement, Porter said that "There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for its customers"
Microsoft stated that the purpose of opening these stores was to create "deeper engagement with consumers and continue to learn firsthand about what they want and how they buy"; let's hope for Microsoft's sake that the brick and mortar stores are not as poor, from a user perspective, as Microsoft's current online web store.
The software giant's first foray in the retail sector could possibly spook some of its bigger partners but is unlikely to be more than a "branding and goodwill experience" as Slashgear puts it.
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We are puzzled by Microsoft's decision to go retail. But we reckon that last years Mojave experience which showed that people's perceptions and judgements could be modified through positive action and these high street stores are part of the plan. Microsoft has already started a $300 million advertising campaign to put Windows Vista in a better light but the current economic conditions is not making Microsoft's task easy.