updated 06:25 pm EDT, Wed April 18, 2012
Best Buy Behind the Tiles hopes to lure buyers
Best Buy and Microsoft have teamed up on a Behind the Tiles series of events to spur on Windows Phone sales that borrow a handful of Apple cues. Running from Thursday to as late as May 17, some stores will be holding workshops that both let users try the overall lineup and undertake a "deep dive" into the Lumia 900 with an instructor. The events will be catered, and even developers and enterprise users will get the "latest info," Microsoft said.
The events are registration only, but are meant both to let newcomers talk to experts and for fans to socialize with each other. As an incentive to come, those who get into the events will be entered to win a Lumia 900.
Microsoft already has some elements of a tight-knit Windows Phone experience at its own retail stores, but the Best Buy events would bring this to third party chains. They appear to draw partly on Apple's retail workshop formula of instructing new users face-to-face at scheduled meetings with small numbers of people. The decision would likely reflect Microsoft's belief that most of the hesitance to adopt Windows Phone comes from a lack of first-hand use and that store events with an incentive would be the draw.
As a limited-run promo in a third-party chain, however, the workshops will only have a partial effect at most, as it stops just a few weeks after the Lumia 900 went on sale. Apple's stores, by contrast, have made workshops permanent fixtures and are credited with nurturing those who might otherwise have doubts.