Subject: General Tech | December 26, 2012 - 06:39 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: microsoft, Microsoft Store
A new year is nearly upon us, and Microsoft today committed itself to expanding its retail presence throughout 2013. In a blog post, the Redmond-based company talked-up the successful launch of its 51 physical Microsoft Store locations. Reportedly, the retail venture was successful enough to warrant expansion. As such, the compnay will convert several of its pop-up stores to permanent locations as well as opening six new Microsoft Stores in new locations next year.
Microsoft did not indicate how many of the pop-up locations will be converted and how many (if any) will be closed, but the post did detail the locations of the new stores. The lineup is as follows:
- The Shops in La Cantera, San Antonio, Texas
- Dadeland Mall in Miami, Florida
- Beachwood Place in Beachwood, Ohio
- Westfield San Francisco Centre in San Francisco, California
- City Creek Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
- St. Louis Galleria in St. Louis, Missouri
The expansion is encrouaging, and it seems that the store locations are worthwhile for Microsoft despite the less than stellar Surface tablet sales. The store in St. Louis will be interesting to see as it is somewhat close to me. You can find all of the details in the blog post on the company's Technet website.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s retail expiriment?
Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2012 - 05:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows, Microsoft Store, microsoft, logo
Windows 8 is not the only big change for the company this year as it retires the italicized logo that has been in service since 1987 in favor of a simple graphic and sans-serif type Segoe face. Reportedly inspired by the company's Microsoft Store logo and Windows Flag, the new logo is intended to signify the new direction the company is taking with its full lineup of software products.
Microsoft is making a number of rather large changes this year. It is embracing the ARM platform in a big way with a version of Windows (WinRT), pushing forward with Windows Phone OS, revamping the entire Office 2013 suite with a Modern UI /Metro-inspired interface, and releasing the next iteration of its desktop operating system with app store in Windows 8. And all those changes are before even mentioning the company's entrance into the hardware market with the Surface tablet, and the new Windows logo that had many users divided.
Speaking of logo changes, the company dropped the traditional Windows flag logo in favor of a simplified single-color logo reminiscent of an actual window. The two dimensional logo was a big shift, but was in line with the company's goal of presenting a flat Windows experience (namely by removing Aero Glass and the 3D effects with translucent windows borders) of simple colors as well as the new tile-based "Metro" Modern UI app interface and Start Screen. The flag logo will live on in a more basic form with the new Microsoft logo, however. Inspired by both the Windows Flag and Microsoft Store logos, Microsoft has unveiled its new company logo. The word "Microsoft" is no longer bold and italicized. Instead it is written in Microsoft's Segoe font in a light gray color. To the left of the written logo is an image of four flat squares of red, green, blue, and yellow arranged like the Windows logo but without the perspective shift.
Microsoft General Manager (of Brand Strategy) Jeff Hansen was quoted by the Seattle Times in stating that the new logo is intended to "signal the heritage but also signal the future — a newness and freshness" of the company. Further, the addition of color to the new Microsoft logo is meant to convey the idea that the company has a wealth of diverse products to offer.
The company is wasting no time in transitioning to the new logo, and it should be proliferating out to all of the company's online websites and social media accounts starting today. As Windows 8 nears release, we should further start seeing the new logo being used in TV and online advertisements for the company's products.
I know many people were against the Windows 8 logo, but what do you think of the new Microsoft logo? Will you miss the old logo?
Personally, I think it is rather nice as far as logos go, simple yet catching thanks to the addition of color. The bold and italic Microsoft text logo served the company well, but it's a much different world than it was 25 years ago. If it helps, Neowin points out that logo does look rather similar to an old image used during the 90's for Microsoft advertising, so the new logo is not totally coming out of nowhere.
Find more Microsoft coverage by following the "microsoft" tag.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 17, 2012 - 03:13 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Microsoft Store, crapware
“Factory computers” have been loaded with demos and trials for several years now in an effort to subsidize part of the cost, get lower prices, and bloat your computer -- that last part is unintentional. Microsoft created their “Signature” lineup of PCs a couple of years ago to highlight products that only have software which Microsoft intended to install. Microsoft will soon offer a service to bring existing PCs to what Microsoft deems a Signature status for $99 if you can find a Microsoft store.
While our readers are affected by this story they are probably less so than just about any other blog.
If you did not acquire your computer by having it assembled -- and if you did, we hope you consulted our regularly updated Hardware Leaderboard -- you probably purchased it from an OEM. To make their product seem more appealing most OEMs load their products with product demos and other advertisements. This is particularly bad for PCs because they are not only annoying but also tend to bog the machine down.
What is it with Microsoft Stores and awkward $99 products lately?
(and yes I realize the image is inaccurate because I chose a non-consumer workstation)
Since Microsoft tends to get the brunt of the bad recognition when a Windows machine it comes to no surprise that they eventually attempted to encourage a more vanilla experience. The Microsoft “Signature” lineup of PCs were OEM-produced machines which have been removed of all software that should not come with Windows -- except maybe a few Windows Live Essentials products.
Microsoft will expand their Signature program to any PC if you can find a Microsoft Store and pay $99 to undo what their partners did.
It is unclear what specific goal Microsoft is hoping to accomplish with this program. Everyone’s first reaction would be that they are attempting to cash in at the expense of their users but that just does not make sense. They could be attempting to promote the Windows store but this certainly seems less like a carrot and more like a wet noodle. They could also be trying to pressure their OEMs by reducing the cost-per-impression they can acquire for each ad because of how easily it could be removed.
It would be most like Microsoft to honestly believe that this service will be appreciated by users. If that is true, I must disagree. ZDNet has already used this as an excuse to promote Apple computers -- which makes me headdesk because $99 is pocket change compared to that -- so I expect that if that was Microsoft’s intent it will backfire wholly.
What do you think Microsoft’s goal is: selfish vulching their consumers or something less devious?
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