Microsoft may be moving into yet another neighborhood already by occupied Apple, at least when it comes to retail stores.
The software giant is reportedly in talks to open its first store in the Big Apple, sources have told the New York Daily News. The store itself would land on Fifth Avenue, specifically at 677 Fifth Avenue near 53rd Street, which would give it a dominant spot on New York's most famous avenue and put it within arm's reach of Apple's NYC flagship cube store.
Microsoft has a habit of setting up its retail outlets within close proximity to Apple stores. The strategy makes sense. Consumers who pop into a mall or neighborhood to check out Apple products can easily be sidetracked passing by a Microsoft store with its array of computers, mobile devices, and Xbox games on display. Whether enough of that consumer foot traffic translates into real sales is the challenge.
Apple stores also differ from Microsoft stores in one key way. Apple stores mostly sell Apple products with some third-party accessories. Aside from the Xbox and a few other products, Microsoft stores mostly sell third-party computers and devices. Apple stores are geared to generate revenue for Apple. Microsoft stores are geared more to generate interest in Windows and Microsoft software.
Still, a Fifth Avenue store would be a coup for Microsoft as it takes its place near other prominent retailers.
"For Microsoft to land on Fifth Avenue just a few blocks from Apple would certainly be interesting," Faith Hope Consolo, a top retail broker with Douglas Elliman, who was not involved in the deal," told the Daily News. "It would be very dramatic."
But Microsoft would have to pay top dollar for the privilege of a Fifth Avenue location. Rents for ground floor stores on the avenue have recently shot past $3,500 per square foot, among the most expensive in the country, Consolo said.
Responding to a request for information about the rumored NYC store, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNET: "We are always working to identify the best possible locations for our Microsoft retail stores to deliver the choice value and service our customers are looking for, but do not have any additional information to share at this time."
Microsoft currently has almost 60 full retail stores in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico, with around 13 more listed as "coming soon."