It appears that Microsoft is going to try something new in a bid to improve its sales performance, at least in developing markets. The company announced it is going to be rebranding 50 Brazilian Nokia stores as Microsoft sites over the next year, with the first planned for Sao Paolo, opening later today.
In addition Nokia stores in India will be getting the Microsoft treatment, although its not clear which of these are real stores and which are pop-up shops in other retailers stores.
With the news of a true Microsoft store coming to Australia it seems like Microsoft has finally got the message that it has a potential retail market outside of the US. Of course the Australian store is the only really new one, but if Microsoft can build on this by developing a truly global retail strategy it may be able to boost its revenues significantly. Look at how Apple has used the presence of customers in its stores to take ownership of the retail accessory market in those countries where it has a presence. Don't underestimate the value that visible support in malls and retail centres can have in boosting the consumer perception of a brand and its products.
Whilst Microsoft Stores in the US struggle in comparison to Apple's, there's a good chance that in markets where the company is doing well (several South American countries and Italy for example) it could reap the benefits of having a retail presence.