Tag Archives: Windows Phone

The Microsoft Store for Business… Ask Caden!

The Microsoft Store in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall is the hottest address for technology in the Greater Toronto Area.  People have been coming from all over to see what’s new, ranging from Windows 8 laptops, all-in-ones, Windows Phone 8 devices, and especially the new Microsoft Surface tablet, the hottest device on the market today.

Of course the store is a retail outlet, and as such is designed around the consumer.  To get a machine with the Microsoft Signature experience there is no other place to go.

So where do you go if you are a business owner, a consultant, a reseller who wants to buy these exclusive optimized devices for your company or customers?  Simple… ask for Caden!

Caden Forbes is the Business Development Specialist for the Microsoft Store in Toronto, and as such it is his job to connect with and sell into businesses.  He is, in essence, the B2B rep for the store.  That means that if you want to buy Surfaces, Windows Phones, or anything else for your business Caden is the man to see… and you can tell in the first seconds of your conversation that he loves his job, is great at it, and is easy to do business with.

It is often hard to find a man who knows his stuff, can communicate his message effectively, and is easy to deal with.  He almost always has a smile on his face and in his heart.  He has years of experience as a consultant that make him singularly suited as the best man for the job.

The entire staff at the Microsoft Store is second to none… they have been chosen well, trained thoroughly, and without a doubt work better as a team than any retail group I have ever met.  Like every great team they all serve their role; Caden may look like a linebacker but when you speak to him you will soon realize that he Is the business-to-business running back; when a member of the team realizes that a customer is asking business-related questions they will hand off to Caden, and Caden runs with it.  I expect him to win whatever the retail equivalent of the Heisman Trophy this year because he is absolutely one of the most effective players on the field.

If you haven’t been there already you should go down to the store and speak to one of the Product Advisors and, if you are a business owner, make sure they hand you off to Caden.

The Microsoft Store: The place to be this week-end

WP_000870If you are in or around the Greater Toronto Area this week-end then there is no better place to be than the Microsoft Store in Yorkdale Mall.

The first international store and the largest in the chain, the opening of Microsoft’s newest retail store can only be descried as a huge success, with literally hundreds of people lined up hours in advance to get their first glimpse of the retail marvel.

Microsoft Canada president Max Long was joined by Tami Reller, Corporate Vice President and CFO of Microsoft’s Windows Division were on hand to open the store with a crowd of 700 onlookers.  They did not only welcome the crowd and talk about the store, they also announced that Microsoft Canada was making a new donation of $1.500,000 to local charities – presented by store manager Alison Evans.

When the curtain dropped the entire staff was leading the cheers, and then lined up to form a passageway into the store where they high-fived the first visitors.  By the time this VIP got in the door (in the first minute) the store was already bustling with activity, a level that has hardly abated at all thus far.

I spoke to a lot of people lined up and they were all here for different reasons – deals on new hardware, Xbox and laptops and accessories… but the two things that drew the most people were the Microsoft Surface and the new Windows Phone 8 devices.

While the Surface has been available since the launch of Windows 8 on October 26th, the only place you were able to see it in Toronto was at the pop-up retail kiosk in the Eaton Centre.  Now that the full retail store is open there are dozens of Surfaces everywhere, as well as Sony, Acer, Asus, Dell Samsung devices ranging in size from 9" ultrabooks and tablets to 27" all-in-one machines.

The greatest thing about the store in my opinion is that the display machines are all available for visitors to try out — as I write this article from a handy Sony Vaio T, complete with multi-touch sreen and reasonably priced at $899.  They are all internet-connected, and nobody is telling visitors not to touch, try, and in the Xbox corner play.  It is a great hands-on experience, and the store associates are as welcoming and helpful as I have ever seen.

In the Windows Phone corner there are representatives not only from a couple of the local carriers but also from the manufacturers as well.  Although the platform released October 26th, this is the first time I have even seen the devices outside the Microsoft offices.

Everywhere you look people of all ages and knowledge levels are asking questions, learning, and trying out great devices.  Of course every PC is running Windows 8, so it is a great opportunity for people to get their first glimpse of Microsoft’s flagship product, barely three weeks old.

In the back of the store there is an area called the theatre where during the regular hours people can play on the Xbox connected to an incredible 103" touch screen.  This afternoon (and tomorrow and Sunday) the Microsoft MVPs are taking over – we will be presenting sessions every hour on topic including Windows 8, Office 2013, Office 365, Xbox, and of course Windows Phone 8.  I have several sessions over the course of the week-end, but am more interested to sit in and listen to what my fellow enthusiasts have to say (I usually know what I am going to say so I am seldom surprised).

It is definitely the place to be this week-end.  Even though the initial ‘line up and wait’ is over, the store has been consistently hopping since it opened, with no signs of slowing down.  I spoke with several members of the management team who are all pleased by the turnout.  Alison Evans, the store manager, told me she is ‘ecstatic about the turnout.’

To make things even hotter, there will be an exclusive concert with the band Train tomorrow evening, and store staff are handing out wristband passes to the lucky few; and this afternoon The Great One – Number 99 himself – Wayne Gretzky will be in the store, and people will be lined up to meet him, get autographs, and get the chance to play Kinect games with him!

So if you haven’t come down yet what is stopping you?  Trust me, you will not be disappointed… your only regret will be if you do NOT come down!

Windows 8: Choosing an Operating System

WP_000537I spend a lot of time switching between different operating systems.  It is simply the nature of what I do.  So the first time I created a multi-boot system with Windows 8 I was surprised to see the new Boot Configuration Device (or BCD) Menu (The ‘Choose an operating system’ menu that comes up).  I was curious as to why they had made the change?  Firstly the old one worked just fine, and secondly the new one, with the GUI requirements, seemed to use resources unnecessarily.

I got my answer last week at Microsoft TechEd in Orlando, and it makes perfect sense.

Although previous versions of the operating system have had Tablet Editions, or were modified/optimized to be touch-capable, Windows 8 is the first Microsoft operating system that is specifically designed to be touch-driven.  Because of that, even the BCD menu was designed to be optimized for touch.  If I were to select an older operating system from the list, it would work just fine.  However for the touchy-feely crowd, everyone will agree that this is easier.

I love it when there is a simple, reasonable, and logical answer to my questions!