Online stores have made it so much easier for us to throw our money at companies like Microsoft (to name only one, of course), but there is still something about going to a brick-and-mortar shop to browse, touch, and actually play with devices. Whether or not we actually buy when we go to those physical shops, the experience is certainly different from the convenience of online shopping.

And, by the looks of it, Microsoft does make money with its “real” stores. Not only does it have physical Microsoft Stores in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico, but it is also slated to open 11 new Microsoft Specialty Stores across the United States.

Microsoft Specialty Stores

What’s the difference between Microsoft Stores and Microsoft Specialty Stores, you might ask?

It’s simple: the former is a permanent shop which you can visit any time of the year, while the latter is a temporary setup at select malls.

Additionally, the Specialty Stores do not have such a wide range of devices to choose from. However, whatever they do have on offer are specially curated, making sure that the choicest of devices are available to their customers.

Why set up Specialty Stores when permanent Stores seem to make more sense?

Well, there is the overhead costs involved in establishing permanent Stores, of course; and in prime locations, you can expect that these costs are astronomical. Also, the Specialty Stores are going to be located in local malls, the goal of which is presumably to extend the reach of Microsoft, where they have no strong store presence yet.

According to WPCentral, the locations and opening dates of the Specialty Stores are:

  • North Point Mall – Alpharetta, GA – May 3
  • The Oaks – Thousand Oaks, CA – May 13
  • Park Place – Tucson, AZ – May 13
  • Jordan Creek Town Center – Des Moines, IA – May 13
  • FlatIron Crossing – Broomfield, CO – May 15
  • North Star Mall – San Antonio, TX – May 15
  • Westroads Mall – Omaha, NE – May 15
  • The Mall in Columbia – Columbia, MD – May 17
  • The Maine Mall – S Portland, ME – May 17
  • Mall of Louisiana – Baton Rouge, LA – May 17
  • Boise Towne Square – Boise, ID – May 17

Who’s hoping one’s near your location?

[Image via zimana]