updated 04:15 pm EDT, Fri August 7, 2009
MS Store Logo and Shots
Microsoft on Friday afternoon showed a construction photo of one of its first retail stores, simultaneously confirming its logo. Similar to the Apple stores the Windows developer hopes to replicate, the stores have art teasing the imminent opening and in this case show all of Microsoft's brands. Unusually, this includes the Bing search engine as well as the company's more tangible products, like Windows 7 and the Zune.
The logo in question is consistent with a leaked presentation and simply represents the familiar Windows logo in a squared, gradated pattern. Mockups of reference stores have the logo becoming the dominant motif for much of the artwork in the store. It's assumed the logo also be the only or primary signage for Microsoft's shops similar to how the Apple logo isn't accompanied by words.
In addition to teasing the stores themselves, Microsoft has also quietly posted five job listings (PDF) for positions at all of its future stores, including managers, sales agents and technical help. In contrast to Apple's, which emphasize the spirit behind the roles, the positions found by ifo Apple Store only show pure experience requirements and don't have special names attached. Those manning what are expected to become Guru Bars are only referred to as "technical advisors," for example.
Neither the photo nor the listings provide clues as to the opening dates of the stores. Microsoft has committed to opening at least its Mission Viejo, California and Scottsdale, Arizona stores by the end of the year, likely near the release of Windows 7 in late October, but hasn't narrowed the time span or said whether others would open before 2010. All of the stores are known to primarily be showcases but should sell notebooks, Microsoft and third-party software, Xbox 360s and Zunes.