Microsoft is looking to get back its “cool” factor by getting involved in the 3D printing industry. At this year’s BUILD conference, Microsoft said that Windows 8.1 will have a 3D printer driver, thus bringing official support for 3D printing, opening a lot of opportunities for developers. The Redmond giant has also announced that they will start selling in their West Coast stores MakerBot’s Replicator 2 Desktop 3D printer, one of the well-known names in the industry.
Now, Microsoft and MakerBot are expanding beyond the initial location, bringing 3D printing demonstrations to fifteen more Microsoft stores across the United States. And this is actually bigger news than we might realize.
Microsoft tries to spark a 3D printing revolution
The people who have heard about a 3D printer are those that read tech news and are up-to-date with the major happenings in the technology field. They are also those that know how a 3D printer works and what it can do. But, the average Joe has no clue what a 3D printer is and that needs to be changed. Microsoft understands that people need to see a 3D printer in action to understand what it does.
MakerBot, like any other 3D printing company, does not have the power to promote its products, since you need money for that. Microsoft already has a large chain of stores across the country, so by partnering with MakerBot they are offering consumers easy and direct access to the technology. If persuaded about the positive uses of the 3D printer, they will be able to purchase it. And if customer support service is offered even after-sale, then we have a full buying experience.
Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot:
We’re thrilled to offer the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer and our MakerBot PLA Filament in Microsoft Stores. We’ve seen tremendous interest and enthusiasm at the three initial ‘MakerBot Experience’ stores. Rolling the program out to 15 additional Microsoft Stores supercharges our mission to bring 3D printing to more people.
We want to empower more people to create and make things, and working with a technology leader like Microsoft helps further our mission. Together we are bringing the tools to innovate and invent to the world in ways never before possible.
David McAughan, chief operating officer for Microsoft retail stores:
3D printing is a significant technological innovation, and we want all our customers to experience it first-hand, to learn how they can use and benefit from it in their own lives. The relationship with MakerBot has been very successful so far, and Microsoft looks forward to seeing the ‘MakerBot Experience’ rolled out into more stores.
But Microsoft isn’t the single one that sees the potential in promoting 3D printing companies. Back in May, Staples also announced they will start selling the 3D Cube printer in their store. And this is just the start, Amazon and Wal-Mart are the next big players that will definitely contribute to this. Even Obama himself said that 3D printing will play a key role in strengthening the military and America’s sagging manufacturing industry.
You can also buy the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D printer with MakerCare from Microsoft’s online store. If you are excited, here is the list of the Microsoft retails stores where you can see 3D printing in action and even buy one:
- Scottsdale, AZ – Fashion Square
- Costa Mesa, CA – South Coast Plaza
- Mission Viejo, CA – The Shops at Mission
- Viejo Palo Alto, CA – Stanford Shopping Center
- San Diego, CA – Fashion Valley
- San Francisco, CA – Westfield
- San Francisco Centre Lone Tree, CO – Park Meadows
- Mall Danbury, CT – Danbury Fair Mall
- Atlanta, GA – Lenox Square
- Oak Brook, IL – Oakbrook Center
- Schaumburg, IL – Woodfield Mall
- Bloomington, MN – Mall of America
- Salem, NH – The Mall at Rockingham Park
- Bridgewater, NJ – Bridgewater Commons
- White Plains, NY – The Westchester
- Houston, TX – Houston Galleria
- McLean, VA – Tysons Corner
- Center Bellevue, WA – Bellevue Square