Microsoft's consumer lineup today is far more compelling, sophisticated, media-rich and, with a growing group of hardware products, tactile than it was back in the 20th Century. The marketing strategy of Windows Vista -- with its various usage scenarios -- presents a nearly perfect foundation from which to structure showcase environments. The entertainment products that Microsoft wants to bring into the consumer's home would benefit from a home of their own.
That argument will be even more relevant in 2010 as Windows 7 begins to roll out and Microsoft takes its "Life Without Walls" campaign to the next level by highlighting the integration of the desktop, the mobile phone and the Web. We are already seeing a sneak peek at this via the MyPhone service that Microsoft is rolling out for Windows Mobile.
Microsoft stores will be in a unique position versus nearly every other physical direct technology channel. For while Microsoft certainly has its own consumer products such as Zune, Xbox 360, keyboards, mice and boxed copies of Windows and other software, a key charge of these establishments will be to highlight the promise of the digital lifestyle as powered by Microsoft in products produced by its partners or developers..