Microsoft has revealed it will open the doors to its first “flagship” retail store outside the USA this year in Sydney.
The new store will be located in Westfield Sydney in the city’s Pitt Street Mall, likely less than 100 metres from Apple’s George Street store. The opening date hasn’t been publicly announced, though Microsoft stated the store would open by the end of the year.
It will be the first flagship store outside the USA - although Microsoft has has more than 110 other physical stores not labelled flagship stores in the USA, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as 17 store-in-store locations in China. In September Microsoft announced its other flagship store for Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Similarities between Microsoft stores and Apple stores are hard to ignore. Photos show staff wearing colour coded shirts, while Microsoft’s Sydney store will have an Answer desk where customers can ask questions, troubleshoot, get repairs and support for all Microsoft software and hardware. The store will show off Windows PCs, Surface devices, Windows Phones, Xbox One, Office and other products.
Microsoft Australia partner chief Phil Goldie is also spinning the store as an opportunity for partners.
“We know that consumer and commercial devices and experiences are blurring and your customers are making technology decisions with this in mind,” he said.
Goldie said the store would create “fans and advocates” which he argued would be good news for partners.
Microsoft hopes to attract small business owners to the store as well as consumers. The store will host community events, offer training workshops, and support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, stated Microsoft Australia managing director Pip Marlow.