Best Buy banks on boost from Windows 8 debut - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Buy banks on boost from Windows 8 debut

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Best Buy's best hope for changing its fortunes will soon be in stores now that Windows 8 is finally making its long-awaited debut this week.

The big-box retailer is betting big on the Microsoft's radical revamp of its cornerstone product -- and when it comes to the world of computers, the race is always on for the next big thing.

"It's gonna freak some people out because it is a very, very big change," Pioneer Press tech writer Julio Ojeta-Zapata told FOX 9 News.

On Friday, Microsoft will debut the first major redesign of its operating system since Windows 95. One of the first things people will notice is a new start screen that doesn't involve that familiar "start" button. Instead, there is a screen filled with tiles that make it easier for touch-screens to navigate.

Another new feature is the ability to integrate apps, and it will also be easier to connect to the cloud -- and both of those are creating a window of opportunity that Best Buy doesn't want to miss out on. In fact, the company has spent thousands of hours training employees to walk customers through the new system.

"Anything that generates traffic into retail space is a good thing," said professor Akshay Rao, of the Carlson School of Management.

Yet, Rao cautions that Windows 8 wont' help the electronics retailer close the door on its long-term problems.

"Best Buy is going to have to engage in some imaginative marketing to recognize how consumers live their lives and engage in purchasing behavior, given the new opportunities they have to purchase," he said.

Also on Wednesday, Best Buy announced that two top executives would be leaving the company, which is eliminating its senior level of U.S. operations to become more streamlined. The moves are the latest by CEO Hubert Joly, who was hired in August to help reverse slumping sales.

Mike Vitelli, president of Best Buy's U.S. business, will resign when the fiscal year ends Feb. 3. Executive Vice President of U.S. Operations Tim Sheehan will leave the company at the end of the month.

The struggling electronics chain also forecast a third-quarter decline in revenue in stores open at least a year and says third quarter net income will be significantly below last year's third quarter.

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