With Windows 8.1, new Windows Phones, new Surface tablets, and the Xbox One, Microsoft has had a fairly significant year when it comes to product launches. One segment of the company that’s flying a bit under the radar, though, is the modest growth of its own retail stores.
This is something the company has been brewing for a good while now, but in a recent blog post, Microsoft announced that it has opened up 35 new “specialty” (like kiosk-style outlets) and full retail stores in the past year. That brings the total Microsoft Store count up to 83 in North America, with new outlets coming to Paramus, NJ, Farmington, CT, and Mississauga, Ontario, Canada in early 2014. Microsoft says it’ll be converting some of its specialty stores into full retail locations in the future as well.
Microsoft launched its retail experiment back in 2009, generally modeling its stores after Apple’s — Microsoft Stores feature “Answer Desks” instead of “Genius Bars,” for instance — in the hopes of countering some of its rival’s retail success.
This trend of carving out a centralized niche at retail is one that has been picked up by other OEMs like Samsung, who partnered with Best Buy for its own mini-stores earlier this year.
There are currently more than 400 Apple Stores located across the globe, so Microsoft is still well behind Apple in that sense, but it appears that the Redmond clan is still committed to expanding its brick-and-mortar presence, at least somewhat.