TROY — The Microsoft Store that opens Friday at Troy’s Somerset North offers the full variety of Microsoft Corp.’s modern products, from giant-screen desktop all-in-ones to Windows phones to tablets to the Xbox gaming system.
Which means you’d better have mastered Microsoft’s touch-screen-based operating system, Windows 8.
That aside — and the operating system has just been revamped, with Windows 8.1, which allows a limited return to the familiar start button and mouse clicks — the shop looks like something out of a Stanley Kubrick movie.
So brightly lit my camera didn’t need to use its flash. Gleaming white laboratory-clean surfaces, surrounded by a riot of colors from the 72 42-inch TV screens that form a video wall all the way around the store. And tech toys as far as the eye can see.
In the center of the store are Microsoft Surface tablets, the Windows company’s designated iPad killer. Just inside the store along the right-hand wall, a selection of Windows phones, with activation available in-store from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
Along both walls are high-end all-in-one computers with huge screens. Along the middle of the walls, left and right, are Get Appy app demonstration areas. At back right, it’s Xbox heaven, with a wide selection of games and plenty of consoles to play with. At back left, a full line computer accessories store, with everything from phone covers to computer backpacks to headphones to external speakers.
And in the center back of the store, a 14-seat classroom with a 103-inch video screen.
“We want the community in this space — it’s theirs,” said store manager Tim Thewes.
This Microsoft store, like the others around the country, has a dedicated full-time community development specialist who does nothing but community outreach. At the Troy store, it’s Shy Averett, and she’s in charge of making sure the community classroom area is fully used. (You can reach her at email@example.com or (248) 205-5980.)
Thewes said 38 of the Microsoft store’s 40 employees hail from the Detroit area, “and they are amazing — absolutely committed to the best customer experience.”
Thewes said the store would provide support for all Microsoft products, whether or not they were purchased at the Microsoft store.
And the store is celebrating its opening with a couple of deals, one day only in Friday.
First, a $499 Surface tablet will be on sale for $299, plus a free $129 touch cover with keyboard.
Also, anyone updating to Windows 8 from an older Windows operating system like Windows XP or Windows 7 can get the upgrade for $99, ($100 off its usual price), plus one year of Microsoft learn personal training (a $99 value) and one year of premium tech support (another $99 value).
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will officially open the store with a ribbon cutting Friday morning. Recording star Kelly Clarkson will perform Friday afternoon to an audience of Microsoft store attendees to mark the occasion as well.