Microsoft Debuts microsoftSF Retail Environment At San Francisco's Metreon Sony Entertainment Center
June 16, 1999
Microsoft unveiled microsoftSF, an interactive, hands-on retail environment in which people of all ages, from all walks of life and at all levels of technological expertise can explore the benefits technology can bring them.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 16, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today unveiled microsoftSF, an interactive, hands-on retail environment in which people of all ages, from all walks of life and at all levels of technological expertise can explore the benefits technology can bring them. Far more than just another computer store, microsoftSF is a showcase for the latest technology from Microsoft and the hardware and software companies with which it collaborates. The facility opened here at Metreon, the new Sony Entertainment Center in San Francisco, a first-of-its-kind destination with 15 movie theaters, including San Francisco's first SONY IMAX Theatre, attractions, restaurants and shops covering 350,000 square feet on four floors.

Microsoft has developed microsoftSF in consultation with its retail channel partners and will use the site as a laboratory to develop retailing solutions that can be shared with those channel partners. The space is owned and operated by Sony Retail Entertainment (SRE).

"We are delighted to be able to showcase in this one-of-a-kind retail environment the entire range of Microsoft® software and hardware, as well as the technology of other companies who share the vision of how the PC and the Internet can empower people any time, anywhere," said Microsoft President Steve Ballmer. "San Francisco and the Silicon Valley are home to the world's largest and one of the most sophisticated high-tech audiences, so this was the natural place to create this site - dedicated to showing, in an interactive environment, the way technology can enhance our working, learning, living and playing."

"Metreon offers a place to indulge your imagination. At microsoftSF you can do just that," said Kari Novatney, vice president and general manager, Metreon. "Not only is microsoftSF a key part of the world's most exciting urban entertainment center, but Windows NT® -based software is used throughout."

Comprehensive Offerings, Products From Many Vendors, 12 Lifestyle Areas

In its 8,500 square feet of space, microsoftSF offers more than 160 Microsoft software and hardware products, nearly every current Microsoft Press® publication, and more than 90 items of apparel, desk accessories, office supplies and other items with the microsoftSF logo.

It also offers software and hardware from more than 30 companies, including Casio Computer Company Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Co., Lernout & Hauspie, Mattel Inc., Peachtree Software Inc., Philips Electronics North America Corp., Symantec Corp., The Learning Co. and Sony Entertainment.

microsoftSF is organized into 12 "lifestyle areas" that create a real-life look and feel to the merchandising and a fun and informative place for people to shop for technology products. Each lifestyle area incorporates the latest multimedia technologies in state-of-the-art displays, featuring glass screens suspended over 6-foot-wide "event islands" that use rear-projected video to demonstrate the technology solutions in action.

Working Lifestyle Areas

Working lifestyle areas include the following:

  • Road Warrior area, with Windows® CE-based devices demonstrating the ability to run presentations, get travel directions and more

  • Business Productivity area, showing how Microsoft Office 2000 enables unprecedented office collaboration

  • The Small Office and Home Office lifestyle area, in which Microsoft Office Small Business Edition, graphics software and Web resources work together

  • The Personal Finance lifestyle area, in which Microsoft Money 99 shows off comprehensive personal money management and online banking

  • The "digital nervous system" lifestyle area, a solution center featuring platform and development tools, case studies, a referral kiosk and access to the digital nervous system Web site

Living Lifestyle Areas

Living lifestyle areas include the following:

  • The Home Imaging and Publishing lifestyle area, in which a Windows-based PC with publishing software and peripherals helps plan and create things for a wedding

  • The Cultural Arts Rotunda, featuring the Van Koevering Grand Piano running on the Windows operating system, as well as many third-party interactive music titles

  • The Digital Art Gallery - featuring the Corbis Picture Experience - an elegant space with five framed, flush-mounted monitors that lets visitors display images from a digital archive of paintings and photographs

  • The MSN TM Lounge - featuring eight PCs that let visitors access the Internet via the MSN network of Internet services - a living room space, complete with sofa and coffee table, that shows off the Microsoft WebTV Network TM service in its natural environment

Learning and Playing Round Out Lifestyle Areas

The Learning lifestyle area at microsoftSF comprises two sections:

  • The Kids area features Microsoft ActiMates TM toys such as Teletubbies TM and Barney TM as well as kids' software titles such as Scholastic's The Magic School Bus TM series.

  • The Interactive Reference area allows visitors to explore their world via the Microsoft Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia.

The Playing area allows visitors to experiment in several ways:

  • Gamers can play on six stations with overhead, rear-projected video enabling solo and multiplayer play on Microsoft game titles as well as 40 games from third parties.

  • Another six stations let visitors create digital postcards, combining photos taken on the spot with background images that they can send via e-mail to friends or family.

A Powerful Infrastructure

To make all this possible, microsoftSF deploys Microsoft Windows and more than 100,000 feet of copper cable, 60 Sony PCs, 18 laptop docking stations, four dual-processor servers powered by Hewlett-Packard Net Servers, a Cisco Systems network, and an array of hidden audio speakers that create 16 individually controlled sound zones.

"We originally met Sony and got excited about the project when we began working with them to architect the entire building with Microsoft Windows NT, everything from ticketing machines and point-of-sale devices to multiplayer games," said Lily Kanter, business manager, microsoftSF.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT, Microsoft Press, Windows, MSN, WebTV Network, ActiMates and Encarta are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Barney is a trademark of the Lyons Partnership LLC.

Teletubbies and the distinct likeness thereof TM & ©1999 Ragdoll Productions (UK) Ltd. Licensed by The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company. All rights reserved.

Scholastic, The Magic School Bus and associated designs and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Scholastic Inc.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft's corporate information pages.

Customers at the new "microsoftSF" retail environment explored the world of interactive technology first-hand as the high-tech store opened its doors at Sony's Metreon in San Francisco on June 16. The flagship store showcases the full line of Microsoft software and hardware products and features 12 lifestyle areas that show people how they can use technology for working, living, learning and playing. Contact info: Nikki Wiebe, Waggener Edstrom (425) 637-9097 or nikkiw@wagged.com.

Microsoft president, Steve Ballmer, experiences first-hand the "Road Warrior" section of the new "microsoftSF" retail environment in San Francisco. The high-tech store, unveiled June 16, features 12 lifestyle areas showing people how they can use technology for working, living, learning and playing. Contact info: Nikki Wiebe, Waggener Edstrom (425) 637-9097 or nikkiw@wagged.com.

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