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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Microsoft to Open Mini-Stores Inside Best Buy

It isn't hard to find a place to buy a Windows computer. What's missing, apparently, is the right kind of place.

To correct that, Microsoft and Best Buy announced a plan on Thursday to create 600 Windows stores within existing Best Buy retail locations in the United States and Canada. The Windows stores, at 1,500 to 2,200 square feet, will be the biggest stores-within-a-store at Best Buy, which has similar dedicated areas for Samsung and Apple products.

The partnership is an effort to give a lift to Windows 8, Microsoft's latest operating system, which has failed to reverse declines in shipments of personal computers since it came out last fall. Microsoft is investing much more heavily in the retail side of the business, where Apple has a distinct advantage with its stores.

Microsoft currently has almost 70 Microsoft-owned retail stores, about 30 of which are “pop-up stores” in shopping malls and other locations.

Since Windows already runs on the vast majority of personal computers sold in Best Buy stores today, the deal between the companies is really a renovation of the stores' existing computer departments. Walls will be decorated with Windows logos and spacious new tables will display Windows computers. An additional 1,200 workers will be hired to work exclusively in the Windows departments.

“We've learned again and again that dedicated, trained people makes such a difference when helping customers,” said Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer for Windows at Microsoft.