Right now Microsoft has 11 brick and mortar store locations; well, 12 if you count the Apple store that was branded in their honor. As far as we can tell most of these locations are not profitable, but that doesn't seem to detour Steve Ballmer from pushing forward with 75 new locations across the U.S. There is speculation that this is an assertive move to compete with Apple, which has around 300 physical locations, the real question however is, what does Microsoft have to gain from all this?
Since at least early April of this year there has been a hot debate among the Microsoft executive circle about whether or not this is going to benefit them. Certainly there are a lot of different factors here. Take for example, the success of Apple stores. It's true that iPods and iPhones are sold almost everywhere under the sun but Apple still largely retains iMac and iPad for themselves, with the exception of Best Buy and maybe a couple other retailers. I believe the reason they can pull this off is because Apple exercises the philosophy that you should have to purchase 4 devices, iMac, iPad, iPhone, iPod to do the job of 1. It also just so happens that 2 of those 4 can almost only be found at an Apple store.
For more of our thoughts on the matter, hit the break. Also, don't forget to visit PLuGHiTzLive.com and click the link in the center for the still-digital Microsoft Store. Tell them Jon sent you.