Microsoft’s New Retail Venture Invites Customers to Experience Technology

SAN FRANCISCO, June 16, 1999 — As Microsoft opens the doors to its new retail facility here today, it is not only giving people an opportunity to come in and shop for everything from software to sweatshirts, it is also issuing an invitation for them to embark on a personal, hands-on exploration of the many ways technology can improve their lives.

Far more than a computer store, microsoftSF is an 8,500-square-foot showcase of the latest technology from Microsoft and more than 30 hardware and software companies with which it collaborates. The new facility at Metreon, the Sony Entertainment Center in San Francisco, offers more than 160 Microsoft software and hardware products and nearly every current title from Microsoft Press, as well as clothing, desk accessories, office supplies and other items with the microsoftSF logo.

The store is organized around 12 “lifestyle areas” that create opportunities for customers to experience and interact with technology products as they shop. The lifestyle areas have themes ranging from business productivity and personal finance to learning technologies for kids and an MSN Lounge furnished like a living room, in which visitors can access the Internet on PCs or experience the Microsoft WebTV Network as they would at home. Each lifestyle area incorporates the latest multimedia technologies in state-of-the-art displays, with glass screens suspended over six-foot-wide “event islands” that use rear-projection video to demonstrate technology solutions in action.

“We are delighted to be able to showcase in this one-of-a-kind retail environment the entire range of Microsoft software and hardware, as well as the technology of other companies who share the vision of how the PC and the Internet can empower people any time, anywhere,” said Microsoft President Steve Ballmer. “San Francisco and the Silicon Valley are home to the world’s largest and one of the most sophisticated high-tech audiences, so this was the natural place to create this site – dedicated to showing, in an interactive environment, the way technology can enhance our working, learning, living and playing.”

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