Microsoft is reportedly coming closer to a UK retail launch, according to RetailWeek (we first saw the report via The Verge), with a new, flagship store set to open in one of London’s most central locations, Oxford Circus.
The building Microsoft is apparently eyeing out is currently occupied by United Colours of Benetton, but the company might give way to the Redmond giant, which is reportedly discussing a long, 10-year long lease.
The deal hasn’t been sealed as of yet, and RetailWeek says that it might fail to materialise.
This isn’t the first time reports about Microsoft being interested in a flagship UK store surface; the firm was rumoured to open one back in 2013 (and then 2015), but apparently couldn’t find the right spot and ultimately shelved its plans.
In recent years, Microsoft opened a few other stores across the globe, more notably one in New York City’s busy Fifth Avenue, and a second one in Sydney, Australia two years ago — its first outside of the US.
This would be a further signal of Microsoft’s increased interest in its hardware operations. For one, it’s been consistently beefing up the Surface lineup of devices, which now has a large enough portfolio to cover almost all categories of devices (save for, notably, a smartphone).
Then there’s a larger interest in promoting its consumer-facing image; Google, too, is scaling up its internal devices team, but still doesn’t enjoy a big presence in terms of retail.
Save for Apple — whose London flagship store would be less than a minute away from Microsoft’s — in fact, the Redmond giant is the only other company that offers a complete range of hardware, software, and services, and has a large enough footprint, brand recognition, and wallet to put its foot forward in the retail space.
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