I left the Bellevue mall at 11am and still there were HUGE lines to get in to the Microsoft Store that opened 90 minutes earlier. Impressive stuff.

There were a ton of Microsoft staff around – I bumped in to quite a few old friends and a lot of our exec team were watching KT and Steve open the 7th store – this one in our “back yard” as Steve called it. The good news is most of the staff I saw were there merely to spectate and the lines were filled with real customers, some of whom had camped out overnight to win tickets to the Miley Cyrus gig on Saturday. Honestly, I have no real clue who Miley is but she’s clearly a popular gal. The sense I got was that Microsofties were there out of pride – with Windows Phone, Kinect, Windows 7, Office 365 and Azure, it’s been a bumper year and there is a lot of new found pride around the place. People were there out of pride I suspect – as well as a keenness to see just what the store looked like.

The store itself? It looks good…big, clean and colorful. Just like the one I saw down in Mission Viejo last year, perhaps even bigger. It stands in stark contrast to the Apple Store that is just a few doors down. I love Apple Stores for their beautiful design but as I walked away today, I couldn’t help thinking that our store looked just a little more inviting…a little less elite. Time will tell if that pays off in sales – but I can say it feels great to have a place right here, close to the mothership where people can come touch and see our products in action.