Best Buy (BBY) is joining forces with Microsoft (MSFT) to open Windows Stores in 500 of the retailer’s U.S. locations, putting greater emphasis on featuring the software giant’s computers and other electronics.
Microsoft executives have hinted that they were looking for ways to improve the shopping experience for Windows 8-powered computers. The launch of Microsoft’s latest operating system was tepid and the software received criticism from research firm IDC for failing to boost PC sales.
Executives also have acknowledged the bumpy start for Windows 8, vowing to address concerns with an update known as Windows 8.1.
“The Windows Store offers a large-scale, hands-on customer experience that will show customers how Windows and Microsoft devices and services can make it easier for them to work and play,” Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of Microsoft’s Windows Division, said in a statement.
The companies said Microsoft’s mini-stores will begin opening this summer in the U.S. and in more than 100 Best Buy-owned stores in Canada.
The stores will be known as the Windows Store and replace Best Buy’s existing computer sections. They will each be about 1,500 to 2,200 square feet.
Best Buy will staff the stores with more than 1,200 employees who will receive training from Microsoft, which already operates its own retail chain.
“Best Buy’s chief goal is to serve our customers as only we can, whether they come to us online or in stores,” said Jason Bonfig, Best Buy’s vice president of computing. “The Windows Store creates the kind of retail destination we all want to shop in, combining great selection, the latest technology, the best service and the lowest prices.”
Earlier this year, Best Buy said it was turning over space in some locations for mini-stores that sell Samsung products.
Microsoft shares were down nearly 1% at $34.66 Thursday afternoon. Best Buy jumped slightly on the news, trading 1.2% higher at $27.20.