The Microsoft Store appears to have CEO Satya Nadella's vote of confidence, with a New York flagship store and 10 other new locations on the way.
The flagship will be located at 677 Fifth Avenue, putting it just five blocks away from Apple's flagship 5th Avenue store. Microsoft says the Fifth Avenue location will open some time next year, while the other 10 locations will arrive in time for the holiday shopping season.
The story behind the story: Microsoft Stores often seem like quiet also-rans next to Apple's bustling venues, and it's unclear whether the operation is profitable. Still, Nadella has said that the stores play a supporting role for the consumer business, and will expand as long as it makes sense economically. With more than 100 stores now open across North America, the retail venture is at least doing well enough to stay off Nadella's chopping block.
A flagship five years in the making
Microsoft uses its existing stores to sell hardware, such as Xbox consoles, Surface tablets, PCs, and Windows Phones, as well as software such as Office, Windows, and Xbox games. Shoppers can also pick up related accessories, and get technical support from store staff. The stores are generally a good place to go for Windows PCs in particular, as the selection is well-curated and doesn't have any of the bloatware that manufacturers usually dump onto their devices.
Microsoft opened its first retail store five years ago, and says it has been waiting for the right location for a flagship store since then. A blog post refers to the Fifth Avenue location as the “first” flagship, suggesting that Microsoft is still looking to open others elsewhere.
As for what the flagship will entail beyond the usual retail sales, Microsoft isn't getting into specifics. The blog post only says that the store will include an “experiential space for Microsoft as a company to further engage with our customers and partners in new and innovative ways.”