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Microsoft looks to give Surface sales a pop with pop-up stores

Caitlin McGarry | Nov. 6, 2012
Microsoft is sparing no expense to hype its newest piece of hardware, the Surface RT tablet, which arrived on store shelves on October 26. The company is reportedly spending more than $1 billion on advertising the Surface and its new operating system, Windows 8.

As Clum drifted away from the kiosk, a Microsoft employee was walking another software developer, 30-year-old Osiris Guerrero, through the set-up of his Surface. Guerrero took up residence on a nearby sofa to set up his Microsoft account with some employee assistance and began experimenting with the Surface's capabilities.

That out-of-box experience is designed to get buyers comfortable with the Surface before they take it home, store manager Scott Gregory said. The tablet comes with a written tutorial, but Gregory said the company wants to "let you touch [the Surface], play with it" before leaving one of its retail outlets.

The Surface is Guerrero's first tablet, and as a Microsoft aficionado who also owns a desktop PC and an Xbox, he said he was "looking forward to seeing Windows 8 in action and the look and feel."

Guerrero said he was impressed by the Surface's responsiveness and ease of use; he also liked the fact that he could work in desktop mode with the Office suite and revert back to the new Windows 8 interface for entertainment and Web-surfing.

iPad vs. Surface

On a Friday afternoon at the San Francisco Microsoft pop-up, the scene was decidedly calmer.

Michael HomnickMicrosoft says one of the goals of its pop-up outlets is to give shoppers some hands-on time with the Surface.

Rich, a 35-year-old video game developer from the East Bay who declined to give his last name, purchased a Surface at the pop-up and said he plans to use the Surface for work and entertainment.

"It's the first time in a while I've seen something have a legitimate chance at poking at iPad and Android and having a third competitor," the developer said. "Microsoft has a crapload of money, so we'll see if they can actually put that behind it and make a successful product."

Vu Ho, a 34-year-old IT specialist from Orange County, was in San Francisco for the weekend and dropped by the mall to take a look at the Surface. He plans to wait until the Surface Pro comes out to purchase the tablet, but said he's impressed with what he's seen of the product so far.

"And I'm pretty bored with the iPad," he added.


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