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Microsoft Announces Plans to Open Retail Stores

A report from Reuters confirms an announcement from Microsoft that explains the company’s plans to launch a line of Microsoft branded retail stores.

ballmerMicrosoft did not announce the number of stores they are planning to open, which products would be sold at the stores, or when they were planning on unveiling the first locations.

Former DreamWorks Animation executive David Porter was named Microsoft’s new Vice President of Retail Stores, and with the position comes most of the decision making responsibilities. Porter will report directly to Microsoft COO Kevin Turner.

Microsoft Appoints David Porter as Corporate Vice President of Retail Stores
Twenty-seven-year retail veteran will focus on transforming the PC and device-buying experience for retail consumers and developing and rolling out new Microsoft-branded stores.

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 12, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that David Porter will join the company as corporate vice president of Retail Stores. He will lead Microsoft’s efforts to create a better PC and Microsoft retail purchase experience for consumers worldwide through the development and opening of the company’s own retail stores. Porter will report to Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner. He is joining Microsoft from DreamWorks Animation SKG, where he was head of worldwide product distribution.

“I am delighted to welcome David to Microsoft,” Turner said. “This is an exciting time with our strong lineup of upcoming product releases including Windows 7 and new releases of Windows Live and Windows Mobile. We’re also working hard to transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience at retail by improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition so that it’s clear, simple and straightforward for consumers everywhere. David’s unique and diverse background, coupled with his deep retail roots and distribution understanding, will be an invaluable asset in this long-term effort.”

“There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for our customers,” Porter said. “I am excited about helping consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases, and we’ll share learnings from our stores with our existing retail and OEM partners that are critical to our success.”

Defining the time frame, locations and specifics for planned Microsoft-branded retail stores will be Porter’s first order of business. The purpose of opening these stores is to create deeper engagement with consumers and continue to learn firsthand about what they want and how they buy.

Porter, whose new role and focus will complement the work Microsoft is already doing with its retail partners, will work in close partnership with leaders of existing retail programs in Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division.

Before joining DreamWorks Animation in 2007, Porter spent 25 years at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in roles of increasing responsibility and seniority in store operations, merchandising and information technology. In his last role at Wal-Mart, Porter was vice president and general merchandise manager of Entertainment, where he served as a strategic point of influence throughout the Wal-Mart business.

Porter’s first day at Microsoft will be Feb. 16, 2009.

Rumors regarding plans for Microsoft branded retail stores have been around for some time. The official announcement from Microsoft does not come as a shock. Retail expansion has been proven incredibly lucrative for Apple, with past reports explaining that Apple nets over $4,000/year for every square foot of retail space it operates.

Comments [3]

3 Comments to “Microsoft Announces Plans to Open Retail Stores”

411macjunkie @ February 12th, 2009 at 8:39 pm
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Is this a sign of desperation for Microsoft?

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Aviv @ February 12th, 2009 at 9:37 pm
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@411macjunkie: I highly doubt it. Microsoft is a behemoth of a corporation. They have a pile of cash and Ballmer’s not an idiot. Even if the masses look at it like Microsoft is “copying” Apple in some way… They’re not. Microsoft’s brand has a ton of potential and the stores could be really great. If done right.

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Ryan @ February 13th, 2009 at 6:17 am
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Yep, Microsoft certainly has enough money to give this a go on a small-scale and see if they can be successful at it. Will be interesting to see how they deal with the fact that for PCs, they don’t actually make the hardware. Which vendors will be featured in the MS store? Also, will MS offer PC hardware tech support in the store like an Apple genius does?

Microsoft has certainly not shown of late that it knows how to successfully market individual products or even its brand; have to wonder how they’ll handle the retail stores.

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