Microsoft will open a flagship shop in central London on Thursday in a move that aims to reconnect the software giant to its customers (both consumers and businesses).
The first physical retail store for Microsoft in the UK will be located on Oxford Circus (on Regent Street) and covers 21,932 square feet over three floors.
It will apparently be the only Microsoft retail outlet in Europe, and one of just three flagship locations globally, that are intended to give people a taste of the Microsoft experience.
According to CNN, the software giant will use the store to get closer to its customers, and visitors will be able to test Microsoft software and games (there is for example a gaming lounge for the Xbox), or get some tech support.
Corporate clients are catered for on a separate floor, and people can also try out mixed reality solutions.
“I’ve been working on this for several years because it’s all about location in retail,” Cindy Rose, Microsoft’s UK CEO was quoted by CNN as saying. “We wanted the best possible location on the planet.”
“Of course you can buy products here, but this is really about the experience we provide to our customers,” Rose reportedly said. “I think this is just the most prime piece of real estate you could possibly find,” she said.
Chris Capossela, Redmond’s chief marketing officer, reportedly said the new store is “unique” in showcasing the Microsoft “experience.”
“The Microsoft brand has become a lot more human, a lot more approachable than maybe the early days, when it was very hard tech,” Capossela said.
“Now we’re about gaming, now we’re about building the next great software application that might rule the world in 15 years,” he said.
Microsoft’s UK boss Cindy Rose also used the opportunity to highlight the Brexit issue, a subject that Microsoft has two main concerns about, namely the continued free flow of data, and legal protection for its staff.
Rose said she is concerned about the legal status of Microsoft staff being able to work legally in European countries, but she also said that she believes the United Kingdom will continue to prosper regardless of the political landscape.