Microsoft Windows 8, Surface Tablets Pop Up at 36 New Holiday Stores
NEW YORK — Microsoft opened 32 pop-up stores in the United States—plus four in Canada—Oct. 26, offering more consumers the very Apple Store-like experience of getting their hands on a Surface RT tablet. The temporary stores will be in place until January, though Microsoft is reportedly working to make its Time Square location a permanent fixture. The stores arrived with the Oct. 26 launch of both Microsoft's long-awaited Windows 8 operating system and the first of its Surface tablets—which, perhaps a little confusingly, doesn't run Windows 8 but Windows RT. Microsoft is marketing RT as an OS for thin-and-light computers (the RT Surface is indeed thinner and lighter than an upcoming Surface that will run Windows 8 Pro) with extended battery life. Analysts suggest that Microsoft has done a poor job of conveying what RT—which is based on an ARM processor, versus the Intel-based Windows 8 Pro model—can and can't do. Notably, RT will only run new apps for Windows 8—which means it won't run other apps a user already has. The tablets—transformed into laptops with Microsoft's Touch and Type Covers—are attractive and solidly made. But the potential confusion suggests some users might go home with less than they bargained for. A candid worker at one of the pop-ups, when asked if he thought consumers understood the difference between RT and Windows, answered, "No, they don't. And neither do half the people who work here."