Microsoft today announced that it is partnering with Best Buy to set up its own store-within-a-store in 500 Best Buy locations in the U.S. and 100 Best Buy and Future Shop locations in Canada. These stores, which will be up to 2,200 square feet in size, will go head-to-head with Apple’s mini-stores in many of these Best Buy locations. Microsoft hopes they will become the “premier destination for consumers to see, try, compare and purchase a range of products and accessories, including Windows tablets and PCs, Windows Phones, Microsoft Office, Xbox and more.”
“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, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of the Windows Division at Microsoft in a canned statement today. “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.”
As Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc also notes, Microsoft hopes that these stores will give shoppers the opportunity to showcase its own Surface tablets in a dedicated area and show off “the latest and greatest PCs, laptops, convertibles and more.” The stores will also feature an “ecosystem section” to show off Xbox SmartGlass, SkyDrive and other services.
The stores will be staffed by dedicated Microsoft specialists, and the alliance will train an additional 1,200 Best Buy sales associates.
Earlier this year, we also heard that Best Buy is going to give Samsung its own space in its stores (so maybe Best Buy’s plan is to just turn itself into a little bazaar now?). Microsoft itself currently runs 68 Microsoft Stores in malls across the U.S.