With the launch of Windows 8 bearing down on us, Microsoft may have to brace for impact.  The reviews have been anything but pleasant, scaring many consumers out of the early upgrade options.  So what can Microsoft do to prove to consumers that these new Windows 8 devices aren’t all that bad?  The answer might just be retail.  Microsoft is opening 32 storefronts in malls all around the United States and even a few in Canada to get these devices in the hands of users, and it may be just what the need.

Recent reviews of Windows 8 have been a little rough, but that doesn’t mean that every device that uses it is a bad one.  In fact, one of the top end smartphones this year may be a Windows 8 device.  The Nokia Lumia 920 is a breathtaking Windows 8 phone that looks incredible and has some innovative features like wireless charging.  The worry for Microsoft?  How many people will completely pass it up when they hear what operating system it is running?


Having retail stores gives Microsoft an opportunity they desperately need, a chance to prove the naysayers wrong.  Having expert employees give detailed instruction on the devices to consumers will help them shake off the stigma that has been placed over them.  As Microsoft dips more into the mobile device game, their stores will play a crucial role.  Being able to place my hands on a Surface tablet would increase my chances of buying one, especially if it performed well.  Knowing there were experts nearby to ask about it, much like Apple provides with their Geniuses, would make me more comfortable with the purchase.

Thirty-two stores doesn’t even begin to compete with Apple’s 250 stores around the United States, but it’s a good start.  If Microsoft really wants to compete in the tablet and smartphone market, 32 needs to be just the beginning.  They are opening in large US cities such as Miami, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, and plan to announce more locations and details soon.

Apple is not Microsoft’s only competitor.  With Amazon launching their new line of Kindle Fire’s, and a plethora of Android tablets on the market, Microsoft has a lot of work to do if they want to stay in the game.  Having a branded storefront to do it from may just be the ticket to succeeding.  Want to check out a Microsoft store for yourself?  Go here to find one near you.