Microsoft is looking at expanding its retail outlets to the European market, after a trial run in the US, according to a news report. The technology giant already has stores in the US entirely dedicated to its recently released Surface tablet and, according to the Financial Times, is aiming to replicate the model across Europe. [...]

Microsoft is looking at expanding its retail outlets to the European market, after a trial run in the US, according to a news report. The technology giant already has stores in the US entirely dedicated to its recently released Surface tablet and, according to the Financial Times, is aiming to replicate the model across Europe.


As well as stocking Microsoft hardware, the US stores offer free training for its Windows software, especially the new Windows 8. Microsoft has traditionally struggled with the idea of branded stores as its software tends to run on other firms’ devices.
However, with the launch of the Surface tablet and upcoming Xbox set-top box, plus the success of the flagship store in New York’s Times Square, Microsoft hopes to replicate the success of the Apple stores.
The FT states the tech firm wants to create a digital ‘ecosystem’ similar to its rivals and will conduct an internal review at the end of the year to establish what formats have worked best in the US stores.
In the US, Microsoft Stores follow a similar format to the Apple Stores. However unlike the Apple stores there is a lot of third-party hardware in Microsoft Stores; such as the smartphones by HTC and Nokia and well-known PC brands like HP and Samsung.
Where Apple Stores have “Geniuses”, Microsoft Store employees are more accurately called “Technical Advisors”.
Microsoft also offers software training at its stores in the US by “Specialists”; these employees are trained on demonstrating the new Modern UI of Windows 8.
The company seemed to be trying to teach users how to use the dramatically different interface in TV adverts recently and the “Specialists” aim to do that task in-store.
The FT says that at the end of 2012 Microsoft will undertake an analysis of its retail store chain’s performance in the US.
Following this study and depending upon results the European retail stores will be given the green light.