Best Buy Experience with Windows 8 Computers I visited two Best Buy locations this weekend when I heard they actually had Windows 8 computers on display, and had the following impressions:

At the location nearest my house, I walked to the computer section and they had two laptops (without touch screens) running Windows 8....WTF. Windows 8 should not be marketed (at least initially on any device without a touch screen, since the experience is SO much different than on a device with a touch screen. The also had a 23" HP touchsmart running Windows 8...however it was mixed in with all the other computers which created a weird experience. All the windows 8 computers should be displayed in the same area of the store. While using the Touchsmart computer, two employees asked if I needed assistance. I told them I was just trying the new OS to get a feel for the experience since I have only used the consumer preview on a non-touch laptop. Both salesman said they have been using Windows 8 for about a year and were really impressed with the OS and couldn't wait for the launch. No prices were displayed for any of the windows 8 devices. I also liked the touch experience on the devices, and believe microsoft will have a hit on their hands when it launches. A couple things that they could do better....not all devices were connected to the internet, they need to create a dummy account that allows users to view videos, music, free games, and download free apps when using the device in the store. It would also help if they had a couple cool free games (angry birds, cut the rope, etc) loaded on the devices to show off the touch experience. Apple seems to do this well, but it is a more awkward experience on the devices I saw.

I might be blind...but as I was leaving the store I saw another Windows 8 display in the phones section that had a HP touchsmart, lenovo convertable laptop and another touch screen laptop. I am not sure how i missed it when walking into the store, but it was a nice setup (it replaced the Samsung Note and Galaxy display that was in the front of the phone section). As I played with the devices, a couple shoppers came up when they noticed I was using the screen to navigate on all three devices. The reaction was very positive...and almost everyone liked the Apps that were available..."its like my phone". Best buy or Microsoft should have an employee near these displays asking to show customers the new operating system. I did notice that most employees were not mentioning windows 8 at all and were selling old Windows7 computers to customers (Thats why I hate Best Buy....besides the horrendous mark-up on HDMI cables ( for inexpensive cables) and other accessories. I know they have to move the old inventory, but they should at least explain that windows 8 will be out in two weeks and will be a much different experience.

The other store (which was larger) had no windows 8 devices in the computer section. They were again in the phone section (and yes, I again walked right by them without seeing them when I entered the store). Again...not one employee mentioned windows 8 to either tablet or computer buyers. I talked an older couple out of an IPAD, after I heard her talking to the salesman about wanting to use it as a PC and connect her camera to it to download photos. I told her there would be over 30 windows 8 tablets at launch and most would have a USB connector. She was really happy with the advice and said she would come back in two weeks. Two other people I talked to decided to hold off buying a laptop when I took them over to the phone section and showed them the two laptops with touch screens. Another negative of the windows 8 machines in this store was that they were loaded with crapware. In addition to the HP windows 8 tutorial (which is probably needed for new users) they also had antivirus and two or three other HP icons for their tools/services. Microsoft should limit the amount of icons a OEM can add to a tutorial and one other program (at least on the start screen). The display of the computers in the phone section is also interesting, I think there will be a big push to show the Windows 8 phones and tablets near the computers to show the compatibility of the ecosystem. In the end it will all come down to execution and how the Best Buy employees pitch Windows 8. Another interesting change was that the Apple store in this Best Buy which was a separate display beside the PCs and tablets had moved into the actual PC section...maybe to compete directly with Windows 8 when it launches.

I think this launch is going to be a huge success and should help microsoft's growth in the future. Instead of making revenue off the OS, they will be making revenue off of yearly updates, video sales, music sales, games, advertising in core apps, 20% from marketplace apps sold, office as a subscription service, and I believe xbox live membership will greatly increase as people want to interact with casual and high end games.

Anyone else have any experiences or comments?