Apple's iconic glass Cube flagship store on the world's most fashionable street might just have a new neighbor, and it's going to be no less than Microsoft.
The New York Daily News cites sources close to Microsoft that the Windows maker is currently in negotiations to open its very first retail store on New York City's Fifth Avenue. Microsoft already has a number stores in the Big Apple, including one on Long Island and a kiosk in Columbus Circle in Manhattan and a temporary location that previously opened on Times Square in conjunction with the release of Microsoft's Surface tablet. However, if the reports are true, this new store will be Microsoft's first in one of the world's flashiest, not to mention most expensive, shopping districts.
Sources say Microsoft plans to set up shop on 677 Fifth Avenue, which was left by its former occupant luxury fashion brand Fendi last year, making it just six blocks or a five-minute walk from Apple's famous Cube retail store. Prices are not cheap on Fifth Avenue, with a square foot of retail space costing as much as $3,500. For the 8,500 square feet on 677 Fifth Avenue's two-story space, Microsoft will have to pay more than $30 million for its premium location next to other high-end retailers.
"For Microsoft to land on Fifth Avenue just a few blocks from Apple would certainly be interesting," says Faith Hope Consolo, top retail broker at Douglas Elliman. "It would be very dramatic."
Microsoft is known for putting up stores within the vicinity of Apple's retail stores, apparently with the hopes that customers walking to an Apple store will be distracted by Microsoft's prominent array of Surface tablets, Xbox consoles and Windows-based devices from other manufacturers. In Palo Alto, where Microsoft has several stores, it is said that most of its locations are situated just a stone's throw away from an Apple store.
However, it is worth noting that while Apple's retail stores were built to generate revenue directly from Apple's iPhone, iPad and other devices, Microsoft's stores differ in a big way. While Surface and Xbox get a prime spot on Microsoft's shelves, the company's stores mainly build interest for Microsoft's Windows operating system and third-party products running on that system.
The company declined to give a comment about the issue, although a Microsoft spokesperson told CNET that the company is "always working to identify the best possible locations for our Microsoft retail stores."
Microsoft has more than 100 stores and kiosks located in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico and is said to be working on the opening of 13 other retail locations "soon".