A visual tour of Microsoft's store inside Best Buy

A few weeks back, Microsoft announced it would be opening up miniature Microsoft Stores inside Best Buy. Neowin was able to visit one of the first locations to roll-out the new design, located in San Francisco, and snapped a few photos to show you the layout.

The area was much larger than we were initially anticipating. The Apple SWAS (store within a store) was considerably smaller than the Microsoft setup. We used the Apple comparison because we know that many of you have likely ventured into a Best Buy and seen the Apple setup; to compare the sizes, Microsoft’s SWAS was about twice as large as Apple’s.

There was one individual who appeared to be stationed within the Microsoft section that was assisting customers and was also well versed on Windows 8. The Microsoft SWAS, as seen in the photos, was full of touchscreen devices running Windows 8 in various form factors.

We will be curious to see how these Microsoft SWAS play out over time and if they help Microsoft move more consumers to Windows 8/8.1. As for now, the stores look good and the Microsoft branding is hard to ignore.

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BB seems destined to become a short of micro-mall for other companies. Maybe it will work for them. Perhaps at some point almost no one within a BB will actually be employed by BB.

I have one in my local Best Buy (La Crosse, WI), it's been there for at least a month I'd say. Pretty big area.

Edited by Grinch, Sep 9 2013, 11:53pm :

Already here in one of my area Best Buys (Akron, OH) and yes it is huge. It just seems strange though that Samsung has a SWAS as well, so technically there is even more Windows 8 there. Apple is so tiny now.
While it adds some cohesiveness to the shopping experience, it diminishes the other brands who make products that use Windows 8, even more so.

One look at the last photo showing all of MS's brands is a depressing indicator about how much work MS has to do. I've lost count on the number of sub-brands, different logos, different fonts, non-extensible brands.... all of which means continued confusion for consumers.

Of course it's a good idea to show them via brute-force marketing; but that's a very different point than what I was saying. Microsoft's branding is like that of GM of yester-year and showing all of their stupid, non-connected brands under the GM umbrella.

Best Buy hasn't had a start menu for months. In store.

My local Best Buy has had this setup for about 3 weeks now. Makes the store so much nicer. I'm not sure about the products yet.

We have one in our area (believe one of the test store), and it actually look pretty good. Although I would suggest to remove the Best Buy ladders as it ruins the pizzazz.

I have a couple of concerns about these stores, when I went to mine in Hyannis, Ma. they still had not been manned by Microsoft trained employees. I asked if all the PC's would come with "signature" installations, and they did not know the answer to that. They also could not answer if they would have training available for neophytes, and they were not able to sell the Windows phones within the store either. They did not even have the Lumia 1020 at the Store. I was also wondering if I could use one of these stores to walk in and get a replacement part under warranty like I can with a larger store. No go on my Surface cover replacement with the walk in. I'll wait until the store is totally finished which it was not.

My biggest concern is being able to send a customer of mine here to have the "privilege" of getting crapware free PC's. That would be a big disappointment if they were still loaded with Best Buys Software app that reinstalls itself with every new User Account created. I have hope for these outlets, but still crossing my fingers at this point.

Great, now no one is going to go into Best Buy because it has tiles and no start menu.

Anyways, my local Best Buy in NY here has the same layout. Looks nice actually. Very attractive.

cybersaurusrex said,
Which Best Buy? I'm in NYC too and would like to check it out. I still want to check out the Microsoft retail store as well.

He said NY... Which is a lot bigger than NYC. So it could be NYC, but it could also be Syracuse...

cybersaurusrex said,
Which Best Buy? I'm in NYC too and would like to check it out. I still want to check out the Microsoft retail store as well.

I'm in Henrietta, NY, outside Rochester.

ahhh man. The local news made it seem like this was already in my BBs. Planned on going after work. Boooooooooooooo

This has been in my local BestBuy for the past month. Pleasant Hill, CA

On a possibly related note. I can no longer find any gaming laptops in that store...