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Microsoft in Alliance With Best Buy to Promote Windows Computers

Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 12:38 PM

Microsoft Corp. is teaming up with Best Buy Co. to promote machines with its latest Windows 8 operating system as the software maker and electronics retailer try to combat the worst personal computer slump on record.

Microsoft is setting up its own Windows stores inside 500 Best Buy outlets in the U.S. and 100 sites in Canada, the companies said in a statement. Other Microsoft products including the Windows Phone and Xbox gaming machine will also be featured as part of the alliance.

Windows 8, an overhaul of Microsoft’s flagship operating system released in October to appeal to mobile users, has failed to reignite the ailing PC market, where shipments plummeted by their largest margin on record in the latest quarter, according to research firm IDC. Best Buy, the world’s largest consumer-electronics retailer, posted an $81 million first-quarter loss amid mounting online competition.

Microsoft follows Samsung Electronics Co. in striking an agreement with Best Buy. Hubert Joly, the retailer’s CEO, is working to lure more customers to his more than 1,000 U.S. locations amid rising competition from Amazon.com Inc. and other Web rivals.

In April, Samsung started opening mini-stores in Best Buy outlets staffed by its own employees with expertise to demonstrate new features of its devices such as the Galaxy S4 phone. That’s an advantage for Best Buy compared to Internet retailers that don’t have physical locations for consumers to test gadgets, according to Joly.

Earlier this year, Best Buy made permanent its holiday policy of matching Internet competitors’ prices, cutting down on “showrooming” by consumers who visit the retailer’s outlets and buy items cheaper online later, Joly said.

Samsung is spending a portion of its marketing budget to generate traffic to Best Buy stores, he told analysts last month. “We’re the only place of scale in the U.S. where they can showcase the fruit of the billions of dollars of R&D investment they make every year,” Joly said at a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. conference.

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Microsoft Corp. is teaming up with Best Buy Co. to promote machines with its latest Windows 8 operating system as the software maker and electronics retailer try to combat the worst personal computer slump on record.
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Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 12:38 PM
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