Huge Crowd For Microsoft Store Opening

For a photo gallery of the Microsoft store opening, click here.

TROY (WWJ) — It was part pop concert, part tech love fest at Somerset North Friday morning, as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer opened the mall’s new Microsoft store.

Thousands of people were in line for the opening. In fact, the first started camping out at about 5 p.m. Thursday.

The store is more than 3,000 square feet of the latest desktop, laptop and tablet computers, along with Microsoft phones and Xbox games.

Steve Ballmer is of course a Detroit guy — raised in Farmington Hills, graduated from Detroit Country Day. And if he was worried about slow sales of Microsoft’s new touch-screen based Windows 8 operating system, he wasn’t showing it. Instead, he was his usual pumped-up self, yelling and high-fiving customers and employees.

Amid blasting pop music, Ballmer cut the ribbon to open the store with store manager Tim Thewes and John Fikany, the Southfield-based general manager of Microsoft’s Heartland District.

Ballmer didn’t take questions from reporters, but spent a lot of time greeting his family at the event — people like Joyce Wolk of Bloomfield Hills, his cousin.

“Steve’s an amazing guy,” said Wolk, a retired teacher. “His grandmother and my grandfather were brother and sister. I was his babysitter.”

Ballmer also gave away more than a million dollars in Microsoft software to nonprofits to mark the opening.

The Education Achievement Authority of Michigan, created to take over the lowest-performing schools across the state, got a $500,000 software grant. Oakland Family Services and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan both got $250,000 software grants.

The store was offering one big deal, Friday only — a $499 Surface tablet computer for $299.

Later Friday, pop singer Kelly Clarkson was to perform in the Somerset parking lot — the first 1,350 people in line each got two tickets to the show.

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