Big Ben, The Eiffel Tower, and now, Microsoft Stores.
Sources familiar with Microsoft told the Financial Times that the company is discussing expanding its storefronts across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. The Redmond-based software giant has reportedly spoken with UK landlords already about plans to open stores there next year, depending on the success of the Microsoft Stores in America.
We reported on this last June when there were similar rumblings about opening Microsoft Stores internationally. This is all important because Microsoft Stores are currently the primary physical distribution channel for the Surface tablet.
Microsoft, which opened its first stores in October 2009, currently has 65 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, 34 of which are temporary holiday pop-up stores. That leaves 31 permanent stores.
A year-and-a-half ago, Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner said the company would accelerate its store openings in the U.S., with up to 75 additional stores over the next two to three years, and expand internationally, as well.
Apple, which first opened stores in 2001, has nearly 400 stores around the world from Tokyo to Rome to Sydney. Microsoft certainly still has a long way to go to match and exceed Apple’s brick-and-mortar footprint worldwide. That was apparently a company goal more than one year ago.
Previously on GeekWire: Apple vs. Microsoft: Whose store was a bigger draw this weekend?