Microsoft staffs up for Windows 8 Xmas rush

Microsoft's release of Windows 8 is timed to coincide with holiday shopping, and the company is in the throes of staffing up its permanent Microsoft Stores as well as a host of holiday stores that sound like they might not survive far into the New Year.

The company is advertising on Taleo.net to fill a cookie cutter set of positions including technical adviser, store teacher, product adviser and community development and events specialist.

CONTEXT: Windows 8 is looking forward to Christmas

MORE: Microsoft's sales model for Surface tablets is unfriendly to enterprises

The job postings include an even dozen holiday stores scattered around the U.S. and Canada, with two in Massachusetts and two in Florida, as well as 14 permanent Microsoft Stores that are listed as "coming soon" on the Microsoft Store location page.

The job requirements vary. A retail product adviser sounds like a sales clerk, requiring two years retail experience, superior customer service skills and passion for Microsoft technologies. Microsoft certifications are a plus. "Lifting with or without assistance (loading and unloading all those great products and carrying purchases out for our customers may be required!)" is also listed.

But retail business specialists must be IT pros with Microsoft certifications in order to go after customers from local businesses with 25 employees or less. They're supposed to do outreach in the local business community and steer them toward Microsoft products and services. "Must be MCTS, MCSE, or MCITP certified or have equivalent professional experience," the job description reads. "Minimum of three years of experience managing IT projects (network installation, multi-client setup, etc.) and troubleshooting computers."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said Windows 8 Surface tablets will be available only in Windows Stores and online -- not in big-box retail stores. Even VARs and integrators have to buy at retail from the stores and online, he says. This won't help enterprises much since their high-volume purchasing is generally done via VARs or some other consultant, with discounts available.

There are 43 stores planned including the permanent and holiday stores based on listings on the Microsoft site and the job site.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter @Tim_Greene.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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