There aren’t many reasons to write about stores, except to say when a good deal has arrived, and Microsoft’s first store in Australia isn’t necessarily going to be about that. What it will do, however, is answer every Windows question you’ve ever had.
Later this year, Microsoft plans to open its first store in Australia, which will also be its first store outside of North America, and that’s a big deal if you’re inside Microsoft, as it says just how important Australia is to the company.
Even the rest of the world misses out on the opportunity, with no Microsoft Store in the UK or Asia, and nothing in Europe, not yet, anyway, as a former Nokia-turned-Microsoft Store closed in Finland earlier in the year.
So what can a Microsoft Store bring? According to Microsoft’s Jonathan Adashek, it’ll be more than about trying to sell Windows to the world.
“For us, it’s about building relationships with our customers one at a time,” he said, telling us that the store will be about tailoring Microsofts applications to individual people, and allowing them to see how it fits with their lives.
“We are not doing experience stuff,” said Adashek, adding that “we want people to try it and have the ability to take it home. We’re going to have the full selection, [and] this store doesn’t change our position on our partners.”
What does that mean?
Essentially, when you walk into a Microsoft Store — the Microsoft Store in Australia, which will be located in Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall — you’ll find products across the Microsoft spectrum, whether it has been made by Microsoft or someone else, such as Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, and so on and so on.
More interestingly, each of these machines will be a little different than the ones you find in any old retail store, with a version of the experience tweaked for performance.
This is what Microsoft calls the “Signature Edition”, with any computer purchased from the Microsoft Store arriving with. You could buy a Surface Pro 3, Acer Aspire R13, or a Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro from this store and it would be a little different from if you purchased it somewhere else, even from the manufacturers building it in the first place.
According to Adashek, the “signature” experience comes down to three things: speed, optimisation, and security.
“[When] you buy an i5 or an i7 and you have all those pop ups running in the background, you’re not getting your full computing power,” he said, telling us that Microsoft makes a specifically optimised installation of Windows for every computer it will sell, which we’re told is something another retailer could do, but merely doesn’t.
“We wipe the machine totally clean and get rid of the bloatware, so we’re really making it a great optimised experience.”
A newly optimised computer is only one part of what piques are interest in the Microsoft Store, because tech support is what really grabs our attention.