Microsoft is currently holding talks with several companies that could support its European expansion, as the Redmond-based technology titan is looking into ways to expand its business on the Old Continent.
Gomo News writes that Microsoft could open its first stores in 2013, with the United Kingdom very likely to be the first country to get them. Apple already owns 2 stores in London, so Microsoft’s new European strategy could also be aimed at its fruit-named rival based in Cupertino.
Microsoft’s new stores could go hand in hand with all its efforts in the hardware industry, as CEO Steve Ballmer has already confirmed that his company is pondering new devices that could run its efforts.
It appears that Ballmer is disappointed with early sales of Windows 8 and he blames the hardware industry for the lack of devices running the company’s latest operating system.
“It is absolutely clear that there is an innovation opportunity on the scene between hardware and software and must not go unexploited at all by Microsoft,” Steve Ballmer said earlier this month in an interview with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman at Churchill Club.
Aside from the Surface Pro tablet, the one running Windows 8 Pro and legacy Windows apps, Microsoft could also launch a 7-inch Surface tablet designed for gaming. Last but not least, a Surface-branded smartphone could see daylight too, obviously running Windows Phone 8.
Hardware manufacturers, on the other hand, think that Microsoft should focus on its software business and avoid stepping into this yet-to-be-explored sector.
Acer CEO JT Wang said last month that Microsoft had enough cash to kill the entire hardware ecosystem, as its efforts to build its own hardware could seriously hurt sales of the other companies on the market.
“They are doing something to kill the whole ecosystem,” Wang said. “They have all this cash. They could kill everybody,” he added pointing to Microsoft’s $63 billion (€48 billion) in cash.