Today Microsoft opened the gates to Windows 10, the latest (and final) version of its operating system. Besides a massive number of downloads of potentially record breaking bandwidth, the magic is also happening at the Microsoft Stores peppered throughout the US and the other parts of the world. Today we took a look at one of their Specialty Store, a kiosk style establishment setup at La Plaza Mall in McAllen, TX.
The store, located in a city at the tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, has only been opened for just over a year. I arrived early, two hours before the store opened, with a small band of tired-eyed Windows Insiders arriving shortly after me. The store, due to it's kiosk style set-up, requires all the display products to be shut down and stowed at the end of each day.
The entirety of their display models had gone from running Windows 8.1 to 10, all updated by the employees the night before. Upon the store opening, Insiders present were awarded a shirt, matching the familiar binary Windows logo design of the shirt worn by Microsoft's Joe Belfiore at BUILD 2015, in their choice of black or white. More Insiders trickled in after opening, along with other customers seeking to upgrade their computers.
Some had purchased directly from the store while others had purchased elsewhere. By noon, the store had a healthy volume of traffic. Besides a change in the displays and marketing, there was another change that was obvious: the language, energy and confidence present on launch day was different than in the past.
It's no secret that Windows 8 and 8.1 didn't receive the reception that Microsoft had hoped for. With this launch, it's clear that Microsoft wants to avoid repeating the past, and the new energy behind this launch proved it for me. Furthermore, traffic generated by this small store also helped to convince me that Microsoft's retail push appears to be working, with users, bringing in their devices to the Microsoft Store to be upgraded.
Overall, from a simple view of a single Specialty Store, these qualities bode well for Microsoft who has been working intensely on its consumer image. Did you visit a Microsoft Store to nab a t-shirt and/or discount? Let us know in the comments!
Special Thanks to the Microsoft Specialty Store - McAllen, TX