Microsoft today announced a strategic partnership with Best Buy and Future Shop. The company plans to build Windows Stores in 500 Best Buy locations across the US and more than 100 Best Buy and Future Shop locations in Canada, launching from late June through September.

The naming choice of Windows Stores is confusing; first of all, the Windows Store is Microsoft’s app store, and secondly these locations will essentially be Microsoft Stores given that they are to feature a range of products and accessories, including Windows tablets and PCs and Windows Phones, but also Microsoft Office, Xbox, “and more.” Microsoft says these will be the “premier destination” for consumers to see, try, compare and purchase its products.

The Windows Stores inside of Best Buy and Future Shop will range in size from 1,500 square feet to 2,200 square feet, according to Microsoft. Each store will feature an “innovation space” highlighting a variety of Windows scenarios across devices, a showcase section with the latest Windows-based PC form factors (ultrabooks, convertibles, detachables, all-in-ones, portable devices, and so on), as well as a standalone area just for the Microsoft Surface.

“The Windows Store offers a large-scale, hands-on customer experience that will show customers how Windows and Microsoft devices and services can make it easier for them to work and play,” Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of the Windows Division at Microsoft, said in a statement. “We’re pleased to partner with Best Buy in bringing the latest technologies to consumers at scale in a unique environment where they can explore how Microsoft products fit together across entertainment, travel, music and other scenarios.”

The partnership will also expand the number of Microsoft “specialists” already working across Best Buy and Future Shop locations. More than 1,200 Microsoft-trained sales associates (about two per location) will be handling these new Windows Stores.

See also – Best Buy has spent 50,000 hours training its employees about Windows 8

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