Consumers are excited about the prospect of using voice and video calling on their PCs with the low cost of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), making it ideal for maintaining meaningful connections with friends and family. But finding the right accessories in retail stores can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Microsoft Corp. is solving the problem with the new endcap for Windows Live, a one-stop digital communications shopping solution for consumers that will debut this month in more than 1,200 Best Buy, Circuit City and CompUSA locations throughout the country.
The Microsoft endcap, a floor display located at the end of an aisle, presents best-of-breed VoIP solutions for enhancing the use of Windows Live Messenger with the Plantronics Audio 350 headset, Uniden dual-mode phones and Microsoft LifeCams. Microsoft Hardware, Plantronics and Uniden are working together with Windows Live to make it easier for retailers to merchandise these digital communication tools. While providing a terrific opportunity for centralized product placement at leading retailers for a number of device manufacturers, the endcaps will also reduce the confusion consumers can feel when they wander the aisles in a retail space trying to locate products to expand their Windows Live Messenger experiences.
"These endcaps help to distinguish our stores and will allow our sales team to more efficiently work with customers seeking digital communications products," said Scott Wallace, merchandise leader for Best Buy. "We are excited to work with Microsoft on this endeavor, which will significantly affect our staff and customers by making the peripheral search more intuitive."
As the communications landscape evolves, consumers are presented with new methods and devices with which to connect with family and friends. Windows Live Messenger -- the world's largest instant messaging network, with 240 million users worldwide(1) -- has opened the door for more meaningful and versatile communications via the PC with innovative audio and visual capabilities.
"With the innovations provided by the Microsoft Hardware group along with Uniden and Plantronics, we are able to help customers connect to the people and information that matter most to them so they can see, talk with and share with their friends and family," said Ervan Pouliquen, a senior product manager with Windows Live Group at Microsoft. "Through this initiative, Microsoft Hardware is also showing how a first-party play can add value to our legacy third-party partners: At the end of the day, we have a stronger hardware ecosystem that brings more business opportunities and innovation to our hardware partners, our retailer partners and our 500 million Windows Live users."
To better serve the increased demand for high-quality video and audio calls, Microsoft Hardware recently launched LifeCams, a line of webcams that includes the LifeCam VX-6000 and LifeCam VX-3000, which are designed to enrich the Windows Live Messenger calling experience. Windows Live Messenger can be downloaded for free at http://get.live.com/messenger/overview