Microsoft on Monday will open the company’s first-ever flagship retail location, a New York City storefront located just a stone’s throw from Apple’s iconic Fifth Avenue glass cube.
Visiting the 677 Fifth Avenue location is a little like going to an Apple Store in an alternate dimension. Yes, when you walk in, the first thing you see are the latest Microsoft-made tablets and laptops. But waiting just beyond is hardware that competes with those machines, like laptops from Dell and HP. Meanwhile, the “Answer Desk,” Microsoft’s answer to the Genius Bar, will help you not only with Microsoft gear but with any other tech, too. And colorful displays along with a mock living room to show off the latest Xbox games give the store a more casual feel.
“We want to showcase the very best of Microsoft and present our products in a way that customers see them in the best format,” David Porter, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Retail Stores, told TIME during a press preview event at the new store.
But why bother having physical retail locations at all, when shoppers — especially tech-savvy ones — are increasingly shifting to online ordering?
“We know customers will be on Fifth Avenue, we know it’s going to be a global destination for people,” says Porter. “Customers from around the world will descend on this and we will have the opportunity to interact with Microsoft directly through this Fifth Avenue store.”
See images from inside Microsoft’s New York City flagship store above.