MS Announces Location of First Retail Outlets

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft announced a couple of weeks ago that some retail stores would be opening "right next door to Apple stores" this fall. At the time it wasn't clear if this was a deliberate strategy or merely a coincidence.

That said, Microsoft has announced the locations for its first two retail stores: one will be located in The Shops at Mission Viejo, California and the other in Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Arizona. The California location already has an Apple store, though with two floors and more than a million square feet of store space in the mall, the Microsoft outlet won't necessarily be a close neighbor. (Source:

MS Acquires Real Estate Strategy

Microsoft recently hired former Gap executive George Blankenship as a consultant. He'd also previously worked as Apple's head of real estate and helped develop the firm's chain of retail outlets.

While at Apple, Blankenship bucked the conventional wisdom of picking stores with low or mid-price rents and were located near tech-related outlets. Instead, he targeted premises in busy areas visited by relatively well-heeled consumers: while rents were higher, he felt this was outweighed by the greater potential for passing trade.

Now it appears he's adopting similar tactics at Microsoft, which will inevitably mean there will be instances when the firm picks locations near existing Apple stores.

Third-Party Products

It's also emerged that while the stores will concentrate mainly on software and Microsoft's own hardware (such as the Xbox 360 and the Zune), the stores will also sell laptops. It will be interesting to see which brands the firm picks to stock and whether there are any associated deals with manufacturers in return for the exposure. (Source:

There are also currently unconfirmed rumors that the stores may include facilities for teaching computer skills.

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