Microsoft opens online retail store

"Customers are now demanding a higher level of online interaction prior to purchase"

Alex Reeve Microsoft UK

Microsoft has launched an online store allowing customers to purchase products directly from the company.

The Microsoft Store has launched in the UK and Germany, and similar sites will be launched in other countries over the coming months.

The site offers a range of products such as Windows Vista, Microsoft Office 2007, Works and Expression.

Products will initially be available only via download, but Microsoft will add delivery of full packaged products later in the year.

Additional software and hardware products will be added throughout 2008 in a phased approach.

"Customers are now demanding a higher level of online interaction prior to purchase," said Alex Reeve, business group director at Microsoft UK.

"Many consumers require interaction with manufacturer and publisher, not only for the supply of information but in some cases to purchase products.

"Microsoft Store is a new addition to the existing channels already provided giving consumers ultimate choice."

The company has stressed that it is still committed to is existing sales channel but believes that many consumers are looking to deal with Microsoft directly in some cases.

A Microsoft spokesperson told that the company is aiming to open the service to suitable partners, allowing them to distribute their products over its electronic software delivery platform.

"We are currently unable to commit to an exact timeline as the platform will be based on consumer experience and feedback. The end experience is our ultimate priority," he said.

Interestingly, the UK site will not load in Firefox but does work in Internet Explorer. via VNU

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