Microsoft is reportedly taking a page from Apple's retail playbook and scoping out a posh Fifth Avenue address in New York City.
Apple's Fifth Avenue location has not only become a popular landmark, it spearheads the Cupertino, Calif.-based device maker's lucrative retail operations. Its iconic glass cube draws a steady stream of tourists and locals, and is a favorite among Apple enthusiasts that often camp out for days before a big product launch.
Microsoft is readying some competition of its own just a few blocks south of the Apple store, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
Microsoft is negotiating a deal to occupy a two-story, 8,700-square-foot space on 677 Fifth Avenue. Situated between 53rd and 54th streets, the midtown site formerly housed Fendi, a luxury fashion brand. Apple's flagship store is a few blocks to the north, between 58th and 59th streets.
If the company is successful in its bid, it will be the first full-fledged Microsoft Store to open in Manhattan, not counting a short-lived pop-up location in Times Square and a bare-bones "specialty store" at Columbus Circle.
Microsoft is keeping mum on its plans. "We are always working to identify the best possible locations for our Microsoft retail stores to deliver the choice value and service our customers are looking for, but do not have any additional information to share at this time," said a company spokesperson in an email to eWEEK.
Fifth Avenue is renowned for the high-end shops that line a roughly 10-block stretch of the thoroughfare. Retailers include Tiffany & Co., Prada, Cartier and a host of other luxury boutiques.
Microsoft may end up paying top dollar to set up shop in the exclusive neighborhood. Rents in the area, which have recently surpassed $3,500 per square foot, are the most expensive in the country for ground-floor commercial spaces, according to the report.
In recent years, Microsoft has been steadily expanding its retail presence.
Last year, the company announced plans to open 11 new locations in the United States, including a store in Honolulu. "From the newest touch-screen laptops, desktops and tablets running Windows 8, to Windows Phones, to Xbox and Kinect consoles and accessories, to a wide array of first- and third-party software titles, our goal is to introduce you to the best choice, value and service we have to offer," said Microsoft General Manager Jonathan Adashek in a statement.
Also in 2013, the company announced a partnership with ailing electronics retailer Best Buy. Called Windows Store only at Best Buy, the "store-within-a-store" concept was slated for 600 locations in North America.
Jason Bonfig, vice president of computing for Best Buy, said in a statement at the time that "customers will see in these 600 stores something totally new and fully in line with our determination to transform Best Buy."