Apple is doing it. And so is Microsoft.
Now, Google may jump into the brick-and-mortar retail game. 9to5Google reports that the Internet search giant plans to open retail stores in the U.S. in time for the 2013 holiday season.
Though known for online advertising and search (which, of course, would be hard to tout in a retail environment), Google is making a big push into hardware.
It sells the Google Chromebook, a low-cost computer. A physical retail store also could be a destination to show off Android-powered mobile devices.
Beyond that, the company is experimenting with a range of products, including the Google Project Glass, high-tech glasses that display information about restaurants and transit as you walk around the city. Google is also working on a futuristic driverless car concept.
Now, here’s what we are wondering: Where’s Amazon.com? After all, it’s the one true retailer of the bunch of tech giants, yet it has steered clear of opening stores.
At some point, especially as Amazon settles the sales tax collection issue, it seems that it will have to develop a physical retail strategy. Chances are, it may go in a different direction, like the tech prediction last year from The Corum Group that it should buy Coinstar as a step into physical retail.
For now, Google may be going retail, building off the store-within-store concept that it has operating in Best Buy stores in the U.S. and the pop-up stores in the U.K.
A Google retail push would be a potential change of course for the company, since an exec told All Things D just two months ago that it has no intentions of being a retailer.
“We aren’t planning on being a retailer,” Sameer Samat, Google Shopping’s VP of product management, told All Things D. “We don’t view being a retailer right now as the right decision.”
Hmmm. Has that opinion changed in the past few months?