Microsoft Files Trademark Application for Retail Store Logo

A possible logo for upcoming Microsoft retail stores that has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office closely matches Microsoft's corporate logo. Microsoft plans on challenging Apple directly in the retail space, with one of its two inaugural stores opening in the same California mall as an Apple storefront.

Microsoft on July 28 filed a logo for its chain of retail stores with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The logo has not yet been assigned to an examining attorney, but the design submitted along with the filing shows that Microsoft's store logo will closely mirror its official one.

Like the official logo, the potential store logo "consists of four squares arranged in a rectangular grid," stated the filing. "The upper left square [of the] design is red, the lower left square is blue, the upper right square is green and the lower right square is yellow." Microsoft's corporate logo has the same colored squares in a wavy, flag-in-a-breeze shape.

The logo is intended to be used in conjunction with "retail store services and online retail services" featuring products ranging from "computers, computer hardware, software, computer games, computer peripherals, portable music players and accessories" to "computer bags and novelty items," said the filing. A first-use-in-commerce date was listed as not available.

Microsoft plans to open retail stores across the country in the fall of 2009, as part of a competitive strategy that positions it directly against Apple, Sony and others that already have their own storefronts.

A 140-slide PowerPoint document, originally leaked to Gizmodo, shows early concepts for the Microsoft stores that include a wall-sized wraparound screen, an "Answers Bar" that seems a variation on Apple's Genius bar, and large tables and kiosks filled with Microsoft products. The stores featured areas for PCTV, Windows 7 and Xbox.

The first Microsoft retail stores are scheduled to open in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mission Viejo, Calif., according to Microsoft. The latter store will open in a mall that already features an Apple Store, suggesting that Microsoft plans to carry out its promise to open many of its own storefronts in as close proximity to Apple's as possible.

George Blankenship, a former Gap executive who helped launch Apple's stores in 2001, has been hired by Microsoft to help with the rollout, possibly with regard to choosing store locations.

Although the recession has driven down sales of new PCs and devices, Microsoft is betting that pent-up demand for its upcoming Windows 7 and other products will help it gain traction as it extends into the retail space.