Earlier this week Neowin and TheVerge speculated on the registration of new business names for Microsoft in the UK being a possible pre-cursor to the launch of physical stores there from 2013. With 19 stores in the US, confirmation of Canadian stores in the near future and a total of 75 expected within 2 years, WPDownUnder would like to think Melbourne and Sydney at a minimum might feature in Microsoft’s plans for global stores locations.
Of course Microsoft currently has an online store presence in Australia. However outside the US, Microsoft’s online stores are outsourced to their reseller/distribution partner in 31 counties, the German based business arvato.
“By working in partnership with arvato, Microsoft can provide all of its customers around the globe the same user experience when buying Microsoft products online. Microsoft always insists upon the very highest standards of performance from its service providers and arvato fulfills these demands on a global scale. arvato offers all its clients a broad range of processes and services that distinguish them from other companies in this sector.
arvato is committed to using and developing state-of-the-art technology and processes. For the Microsoft Store the electronic software download component facilitates product availability around the clock, every day of the week. The downloaded products can be used immediately – right on the spot. Assuming a customer is purchasing an Office Home & Student version with a regular 16 Mbps connection the time from the product selection to the installation on the PC varies around 15 min.”
So far in the US, 19 stores have opened, with one set to open soon in New York and multiple Canadian stores. If the UK stores were to go ahead, this could be a key departure from the arvato partnership, hopefully allowing for similar changes to take place in Australia. The stores offer MS products, special releases, demo’s/how-to’s and plenty of other promo activities – such as featuring the #smokedbywindowsphone campaign in the US.
MS Store US Video:
Following on from Neowin’s investigative work, we hit up both the ASIC’s and IP Australia sites looking for any recent AU Microsoft related activity. Despite a quick search of both sites, there did not appear to be any local brand or business activity which suggested Microsoft had lodged applications on this front. The most recent ASIC info related to “Microsoft Online” – a registration in 2011 which most likely underpinned their cloud, Office 365 and other commercial activities in this area in Australia.
As far as trademarks were concerned, only two things caught our eye, but were not seemingly related to our search for Microsoft Store preparations. The first was the Trademark of “Microsoft – Be What’s Next” – a campaign from last year in the US which I cannot recall ever making it’s way DownUnder. The other item was more a curio – and something which we certainly had a chuckle over. We did a quick check on the “Surface” trademark in Australia. Microsoft of course owned this from their earlier expensive business product “table-et” in this space. Then we compared it to Apple’s Australian trademark for IPAD. Click the picture below for a larger size LOL. We hope MS might have some Trademark lawyers furiously working to update this!
So, whilst this has left us none the wiser over Microsoft’s Aussie plans for their retail stores, WPDownUnder remains hopeful that Sydney and Melbourne at a minimum feature in their global roadmap. We may learn more at Microsoft’s annual partner convention, taking place in July….What further remains to be seen is how MS will juggle local pricing if they have their own outlet, and manage channel and distributor tension in the physical retail space. Would we continue to see the significant price discrepancy Australian IT buyers pay when purchasing from online stores from the likes of MS, Adobe and others, which is presently being looked into by a federal committee?
We have put the question of Australian store launches to Microsoft locally, and will report back if it is anything other than the expected “nothing to announce at this time” line. If MS can get their act together, I would much prefer to buy my Surface later this year from a competitive local MS store….than grey-importing.
*** UPDATE ***
Thanks to an anonymous tipster – the unofficial word from MS Australia connections is that there WILL be a flagship Sydney store launched before the end of 2013. Perhaps we can convince MS to start in Melbourne. We know the perfect location, just across from Androidland! lol