Best Buy announced Thursday that it is partnering with Microsoft to open Windows stores at hundreds of locations.
The new partnership adds Microsoft to the list of big vendors who are showcasing their wares at stores within Best Buy stores.
Samsung, a smartphone manufacturer, has the biggest presence with shops in all 1,400 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile store. Apple comes in second with 740 shops at Best Buy locations. Windows shops will now open in 500 US Best Buy stores and another 100 in Canada.
These moves indicate that suppliers still regard Best Buy as a key distribution outlet, said RJ Hottovy, a senior retail analyst with Morningstar.
"It does show there is a level of commitment, at least now, from these vendors, which I think is important, to massage a lot of concerns a lot of people had about whether Best Buy was slowly sliding into irrelevance," Hottovy said.
Hottovy warns there is nothing preventing these companies from building competing stores as Apple has.
"As we've found with consumer electronics, consumers tend to be a lot more brand loyal than product loyal or retailer loyal. And so I think this will help to drive traffic," Hottovy said.
Best Buy and Microsoft say the partnership will add more than 1,200 Best Buy Microsoft-trained sales associates.