November 20, 2008, 11:00 AM — Microsoft's latest effort at online retailing has elicited reactions from both supporters and detractors, but then, finding fault with Microsoft has become a sort of sport. The new Microsoft Store has has a new approach compared to the existing Windows Marketplace site, which will be shut down.
Some of the buzz revolves around the direct sales model. The older Windows Marketplace gave buyers a choice of fulfillment options, but the Microsoft Store sells direct exclusively. In reality, there's not much to be concerned about on the part of VARs here, unless they're making their entire business out of reselling packaged Microsoft apps, and if that's the case, they should have re-thought their businesses years ago. VARs may lose out on a little margin here and there to people buying direct, but then, most VARs make most of their money on the added value. And of course, most of the people buying direct from the Microsoft Store are going to be smaller buyers, home users, and very small businesses, which typically don't represent the VAR's main audience anyway. Nothing to complain about here, the Microsoft Store is just good marketing, nothing else.