Microsoft will open its first retail location in Canada at Yorkdale, the Star has learned.
On Tuesday, the technology giant announced it would begin selling its new Surface tablet later this year, to compete with Apple’s iPad.
Building permit notices reveal Microsoft has also applied to build a store in the Yorkdale shopping centre.
Apple already has a retail location at Yorkdale, one of 23 across Canada. Microsoft has 25 stores in the U.S. — six of them in California.
The move ups the ante in the battle between technology giants for a piece of the increasingly crowded tablet market, which includes Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Playbook, Amazon’s Kindle and tablets running Google’s Android operating system.
Microsoft said Tuesday that the Surface would only be sold through Microsoft channels later this year. Canadians will be able to test drive one at Yorkdale when the retail store opens. No opening date has been set.
The design of the Microsoft stores in the U.S. incorporates many of the elements that made Apple stores a hit – gleaming wood floors and lots of glass. Microsoft has added big comfy chairs and benches to the décor in the U.S. locations. At Apple stores, customers stand at counters featuring tethered Apple products.
Yorkdale is in the middle of a $220-million expansion that will add more than 145,000 square feet and 40 new stores to the existing 225 stores by the end of this year.
The renovation will include an extra level of parking and renovations to Holt Renfrew and The Bay. Tory Burch and J. Crew are already open. Ann Taylor Loft is on the way.
Calgary-based Chipotle and Vancouver-based Joey Restaurant have also applied for permits to build in the mall.
Yorkdale is planning to reveal a list of the new fashion stores next week.
In 2005, Yorkdale Shopping Centre completed a $110-million expansion, which drove customer traffic and sales volumes higher than any previous year.
Apple will open it’s 23rd store in Canada on Saturday, at the Masonville Place Mall in London, according to lfp.com.
Apple has seven stores in the GTA, including the location at Yorkdale.