Being There: Microsoft Store's Surface 2 Launch

Westchester is a huge Surface market, and Microsoft hears it loud and clear



A Microsoft store associate shows off Surface 2 (or Surface Pro 2) to a customer at the Surface midnight launch event at the Microsoft retail store at The Westchester Oct. 21, 2013. The event was one of 10 held across the country.

provided by Microsoft

As part of its Surface 2 launch event, Microsoft kept open until midnight 10 of its stores to promote to and engage its audience with its shiny, sleek, cheaper-than-others tablet. It had grand launches in huge cities like Miami, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and... White Plains.

"New York's been a great location for us," said Pete Harrington, Microsoft's Northeast marketing manager. "We've got a great customer demand in Westchester, proven by the demand that we've seen on version one, so we thought, 'why not throw a party for version two?'"

And so the Microsoft store at The Westchester was bustling with excitment in the wee hours of October 21.

"When we built our first store four years ago, they definitely wanted to have an interpersonal feel with the local community," Harrington echoed in front of the store's huge interactive screen that's used for basically everything from gaming to adolescent app development to videos. "We do a lot of outreach where we bring customers into the store, we bring community events into the store, and we can host cool events like this—it's just a win/win for Microsoft and for Microsoft customers."

As part of the "challenge" the store held, tech fans competed in art-oriented games and typing-speed competitions. The winner? That person's already been flown to Florida to see a Pitbull concert on the night of Oct. 22.


provided by Microsoft

In order to prepare for such an event, the store used all of their regular employees, but also partnered up with a local marketing company to increase their resources for the event. They also brought in Allan Houston, the former New York Knick, who seems to be positively impacting Westchester in many different ways lately. Houston was signing autographs, talking to customers, and judged the competition.

As for the Surface 2 (and what might set it apart from other tablets?):

"What's great about the Surface today is the ability to consume and also create," Harrington echoed. "Where you see other tablets kind of fall short is that it's just a consumption-type tablet."

After a whole bunch of technological explanations from Derek, one of the store's staff members, and who—per Microsoft policy—we were not allowed to quote, one Westchester Magazine editor was lucky enough to play with the new gadget—typing on that little felt keyboard is fantastic. One odd thing, though: Microsoft Office is included when you buy the cheaper, less powerful version of the Surface 2, but isn't included on the more expensive version—you'll have to purchase that separately. Regardless of your fancy, though, the store will continue to stock Surfaces throughout the near future.