Mi­crosoft an­nounces launch of first flag­ship store out­side US in Syd­ney

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Mi­crosoft on Tues­day said it will open its first flag­ship store out­side the United States in Syd­ney, as the tech­nol­ogy gi­ant ex­pands its phys­i­cal foot­print to take on global ri­vals Ap­ple and Sam­sung.

Mi­crosoft Australia’s man­ag­ing direc­tor Pip Mar­low said the shop, to be lo­cated in Syd­ney’s main Pitt Street shop­ping dis­trict, was a “sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment” for the Amer­i­can firm.

“This is a sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment for our busi­ness lo­cally as well as glob­ally,” Mar­low said in a state­ment on the com­pany’s web­site.

“This will be much more than a store. It will em­body the world class in­no­va­tion that you have come to ex­pect from Mi­crosoft and be a space where con­sumers ... can visit and learn how to make the most of their tech­nol­ogy.”

A flag­ship store is com­monly seen as a way for firms to show­case their brand’s prod­ucts and have more re­cently been adopted by tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies keen to es­tab­lish di­rect con­tact with their cus­tomers in large, down­town out­lets.

The store will be just sev­eral hun­dred me­ters from Ap­ple’s flag­ship shop and a Sam­sung out­let, and will re­port­edly take up 581 square me­ters (6,254 square feet) over two floors.

Mar­low did not say when it would open but The Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Re­view said it would be in time to cap­ture the busy Christ­mas shop­ping pe­riod.

The Red­mond, Wash­ing­ton­based com­pany an­nounced last year its first flag­ship store would be on Fifth Av­enue in New York.

The firm has 110 phys­i­cal stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico and 17 store-in-store lo­ca­tions in main­land China. Along with the flag­ship shops, they are a re­flec­tion of Mi­crosoft’s push to­wards a more vis­i­ble pres­ence.

Ap­ple said in March it has 453 phys­i­cal stores in 16 coun­tries.

Mi­crosoft is seek­ing to take on the mo­bile op­er­at­ing sys­tems space dom­i­nated by Ap­ple’s iOS and Google’s An­droid. The Win­dows op­er­at­ing sys­tem for PCs, which was launched in the 1990s, has been a cash cow for Mi­crosoft, but the plat­form is lag­ging in mo­bile.

Mi­crosoft has also launched its own mo­bile de­vices such as Sur­face tablets and Lu­mia smartphones.

AP

U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael Fro­man, front left, speaks to re­porters af­ter talks with his Ja­panese coun­ter­part in Tokyo, early Tues­day, April 21.

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