Day before yesterday, during Steve Ballmer’s keynote at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft announced Windows 8’s release timeline. Microsoft’s latest and greatest operating system will be available in retail stores towards the end of October, in time for the US holiday season. In addition to Windows 8, Microsoft will also bring Microsoft’s Windows 8 RT tablet—Surface and Windows Phone 8 phones by OEM partners. This holiday season will be Microsoft’s biggest season for the home consumer, and Microsoft realizes this.
To get these products to the end-user, Microsoft will leverage their Microsoft Stores. So far, the few stores that Microsoft has seem to have less footfall compared to Apple Stores on a daily basis but that can be attributed to the lack of attention-drawing devices—there’s only so much Xbox & Kinect can do. Microsoft’s Surface will be exclusively available through Microsoft Sotres (brick & mortar and online) and Kevin Turner announced that for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 & Surface launch, Microsoft will have several small pop-up stores to showcase their products and reach more customers. (There will be a Microsoft Store in Toronto, Canada and somewhere in Puerto Rico.)
The strategy is genius and should help Microsoft reach more customers to promote and sell their products.
According to Ben, Windows Phone 7 had a 88% success rate (30 wins, 3 losses & 1 draw) at CES. The campaign was positively received by the tech world; showing how and where Windows Phone 7 is better than the competition directly to the end-user makes for a great sales pitch as compared to the one made by the representatives at carrier outlets. Many enthusiasts suggested the campaign be aired on television and continued. As it turns out, Ben plans to continue this campaign at Microsoft stores.
In a post on the Windows Team Blog, Ben says that he will be at Microsoft’s store in California. The challenge remains the same, beat Ben and get $100 or accept that Windows Phone 7 is indeed faster (and better) than your iPhone or Android phone. Details and timings about the competition can be found in the blog post; be sure to follow Ben on Twitter.
In a separate story, Tom Warren writing for The Verge is reporting that Microsoft plans to open at least 4 stores across the American continent. New York, New Jersey to be specific, will be getting its first store and so will Canada. The other two stores will be in Austin, Texas and Palo Alto, California.
Microsoft today opened their 7th retail in Bellevue , Washington. The ribbon was cut by Steve Ballmer to a cut down of 7 since this is store number 7 and the success of Windows 7, Windows Phone 7. Microsoft seems to have developed a fixation for 7 recently. Here’s a video of Steve B doing the honors with COO Kevin Turner:
Microsoft had unveiled Kinect (What is Kinect?) at the E3 2010 event earlier this month. Though Kinect is scheduled to be released on November 4, Microsoft has announced that Kinect will be available to test and play around with at 4 Microsoft stores in the US.
If you walk into a Microsoft Store in San Diego, Arizona, California or Colorado, you will be able to play games using Microsoft Kinect accessory for Xbox 360. The above picture is from Microsoft’s San Diego store opening where a user played using hand movements.
Kinect for Xbox 360 is also available for sale at the official Microsoft Store. The accessory for Xbox 360 will sell at $149.