Microsoft has a big retail season ahead of it with the launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet this fall. The company plans to open at least a dozen "pop-up" stores across the country for the holidays to support this effort.
The new stores are important to Microsoft, since the company's Surface tablet will only sold at its own retail locations (as well as online). Adding another dozen stores to the 31 Microsoft Stores either already open or planning to open soon will give Microsoft's tablet a much-needed boost.
According to Microsoft's job postings, new stores will be opening in the following cities: Natick and Braintree, Massachusetts; St. Louis, Missouri; Cleveland, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; San Antonio, Texas; Chicago, Illinois, New York, New York; two locations in Miami, Florida; and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The job listings do not say how long the stores will remain open, and the jobs are listed as "temporary." In most of the areas where new stores will be opening, there is no Microsoft Store close by. With that in mind, it wouldn't be surprising if the locations become permanent if they perform well--especially since Microsoft wants to have at least 75 retail locations open by 2013.
The dual launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet is also an important moment for Microsoft. As Apple's own retail locations have shown, having your own spot to showcase your products and software can make a difference in the purchase decisions of consumers.
Since the Surface is exclusively sold at retail through Microsoft's own stores, it gives customers an extra reason to walk through the door. Surface generated a lot of positive buzz for the company when it was announced in June, but we're still not sure whether that initial excitement will turn into actual hardware purchases.