Early look inside Microsoft’s first Canadian store

The first Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) retail stores launched in the U.S. at the same time as the Windows 7 OS. Now, weeks after the launch of Windows 8, the Redmond, Was.-based software giant is finally opening its first store north of the border.

The gala opening of the Microsoft store in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall will take place on Friday, Nov. 16 with an appearance by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky (playing lucky shoppers in a game of Xbox Kinect hockey) and the band Train, but CDN got an early look inside the new store with other members of the local media. The full range of Microsoft hardware and software is on display, from laptops and tablets to phones and gaming systems. Microsoft noted all the PCs for sale in the store are touch-enabled – the better to showcase the capabilities of Windows 8.

Microsoft stressed the importance of community to the store, including with a theatre available for free use by local businesses and community groups. Members of Microsoft’s channel community will undoubtedly notice the inclusion of a small business desk staffed by a Microsoft small business specialist, who can talk to small business owners about how Microsoft hardware and software can help them grow their business.

We spoke with Microsoft about how it will avoid conflict with its channel partners in the SMB portion of its retail strategy, as well as how it will offer a different experience than its neighbor across the mall, the Apple Store. Learn more in this CDN video report.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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