When Apple unveils a new iPhone, customers in long lines are usual sights. But what about Microsoft? Does the tech giant based in Redmond, Washington, boast fandom too?
The answer is yes, if a recent store opening in New Jersey is any indication.
Hundreds of tech shoppers showed up Thursday for the unveiling of a Microsoft store at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. It didn't hurt that the opening featured a DJ, prizes, about $1 million-worth of product and software donations to local charities—and a concert by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. More than 200 people had camped out at the mall overnight for a chance to win giveaways and receive free tickets to the musical performance.
"We're opening our stores to build relationships with our customers one at a time," said Jonathan Adashek, general manager of Communication Strategy for Microsoft Stores. "Our customers are asking for these stores."
Microsoft has more than 90 retail stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
And the retail store push is part of a broad strategy under Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella.
Microsoft is trying to gain market share in a competitive market for mobile devices that includes Apple's iPad and MacBook Air laptop. The Microsoft Surface tablet, launched in October 2012 and refreshed last year, has about 2 percent of the tablet market, failing to make a dent on Apple's iPad, according to Reuters. Microsoft has only 3 percent global share in smartphones, chiefly through Nokia.
Microsoft is betting the new Surface Pro 3, which runs the full Windows operating system, will be the device consumers and businesses turn to when they're replacing laptops. The new device has a 12-inch screen, slightly bigger than its last model, but is thinner and weighs less. It comes in three models, starting from $799,
Big picture, an increased tablet presence would add to Microsoft's hip brand factor, which often can be associated with Microsoft Xboxes.
"We are not building hardware for hardware's sake," Nadella said at a recent product event.