The annual Microsoft shareholders meeting in Redmond, Washington earlier today included a Q&A session at the end where an unnamed stockholder wanted to know more about Microsoft's purpose in opening retail store locations. The man, who said he had worked with the Eddie Bauer clothing retail chain, asked the assembled company executives.
My question is why is there a lack of transparency? What is the purpose of these stores? Because if it is just simply for marketing, Microsoft is a tech company, it's not a retail company.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in response that the stores were there flat out to sell products that can make Microsoft money. That means Windows PCs, Windows Phones, Xbox 360 consoles and games and more. He added that he visited seven of the company's retail stores last week. Ballmer said, "With 31 stores, we are driving ahead vigorously and we are there to sell, sell, sell! Help, help, help! And through help, sell more!"
Ballmer said that Microsoft Store employees will help people even if they bring in a device they didn't buy in a Microsoft Store. He stated:
We have a bunch of people bringing in non-PCs that we didn't buy in our stores. Great, we will fix them, because we have people with great experience with Windows. People bring in non-Windows devices and we say great, we will help you fix them. But remember, we are right here, the next time the Windows device will be a greater solution for you. So it's not real complicated. It's about selling. We make a good profit on every device we sell.
Source: Microsoft shareholder meeting website | Image via Microsoft