Microsoft Plans to Enter Into Retail Business

February 13th, 2009 at 12:00 am

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Microsoft seems to go and follow into Apple’s footsteps by planning to open up their own retail business. Although there are no definite plans yet on how the software giant is going to do it, it may have already taken steps that would someday have it open up its own retail stores, online and otherwise.

According to recent news, Microsoft announced the hiring David Porter into its fold. At first glance, this might mean anything. But his position as the Corporate Vice President of Retail Stores might give you more than just a hint. Aside from that, Mr. Porter is actually the second former Wal-Mart executive that Microsoft has hired recently, after hiring COO Kevin Turner.

David Porter worked for 25 years as an executive at Wal-Mart and, more recently, the past two years at DreamWorks Animation heading its product distribution arm. And having two former Wal-Mart executives on the roster, something regarding "retail" might be on the future plans of Microsoft.

If that’s not yet convincing enough for you, consider the statement Mr. Porter made after being hired into Microsoft. "There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for our customers," Porter said. "I am excited about helping consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases, and we’ll share learnings from our stores with our existing retail and OEM partners that are critical to our success".

As an added point, it is actually not the first time that the software giant has dabbled in the retail business. Microsoft actually opened a single retail outlet at the Metreon center in San Francisco. But it closed in 2001 and the software giant hasn’t opened another retail outlet since, at least not until this recent development.

If and when Microsoft does open its retail outlet doors to its customers, it may find itself into certain challenges. Microsoft has long depended on selling their popular software products through retail partners who bundled them up with the PC’s being sold at their stores. With Microsoft opening up its doors by directly selling retail to customers in their own outlets instead of through their retail partners, there would certainly be issues and concerns that might crop up along these lines.

Or maybe, Microsoft might be selling a different idea when it comes to their future retail outlets. The proposed outlets may focus instead on strengthening the brand or even begin to market a certain lifestyle associated with their brand. Whatever the plan is, it surely is something to look forward to and see what Microsoft may be able to do with it for gains.