Microsoft will reportedly assess how its US stores are performing before deciding to expand into Europe. The Financial Times reports that Microsoft has been in talks with property landlords in the UK to potentially open stores during 2013. A final decision is said to hinge on existing store performance, despite the company's recent international expansion to Canada and Puerto Rico.
We previously reported that Microsoft is preparing to launch a retail store in the UK during March 2013 and it has registered its own private limited company in the UK in preparation. Microsoft has been fairly aggressive with its store plans this holiday season, opening 32 pop-up stores in the US. Microsoft's stores are generally located near Apple ones and follow a similar approach in design and customer service. Microsoft sells a variety of OEM hardware, as well as its Xbox and Surface products.
As Microsoft pushes towards a devices and services company, the focus on retail will be a crucial factor to help sell devices like Surface and future hardware that is in the works. A quick survey of several leading retailers across Europe by The Verge staff has produced mixed results. Often, Windows 8 devices are hampered by OEM stickers, a lack of demo accounts, and no network connectivity. A Microsoft Store expansion into Europe would help to address some of these issues at a time when Microsoft is battling to sell Windows 8 to consumers through a massive marketing campaign.