Microsoft Store Events, Products, Twitter Party & 100$ Give Away

Theater

I’ve been invited to be a part of a number of really cool campaigns that companies create to reach out to the public. This week’s campaign is one of those that rates high on the “COOL FACTOR”. I get to tell you about the Microsoft Store, today – and to offer my readers a 100$ Microsoft Store gift card (P.S. they sell Xboxes, Microsoft Points Cards for gamers, and Windows Phones there). I appologize in advance that the post is long, but I promise you’ll learn something cool about Microsoft Stores that you probably don’t know… and even if you love a few Apple products, you might just find something you’re interested in down below! Be sure to read to the bottom and comment to enter the prize!

My local Windows Store, located in Austin at the Domain Shopping Center, is wanting to reach out to Austin parents and share about what they have to offer. I’m so glad they did, because I didn’t know much about them at all before I was invited to participate… and now I’m planning a homeschool field trip with my co-op to visit this summer!

If you aren’t in Austin, no worries – there are 35 full-line Microsoft Stores with technology theaters in the back that can be rented out for FREE – check out the details below. There are 31 specialty stores, also – which don’t have a theater, but have a variety of different Microsoft products that vary by location. They are continuing to open new stores frequently, so chances are good that you’ll find one nearby.

In TEXAS, they have three full-line stores in San Antonio, Houston and Austin… and quite a few specialty stores including the Woodlands, Frisco (north of Dallas), and Arlington (opening soon).

You can find out if there’s a Microsoft Store near you at their Locator page online.

The Microsoft Stores all try and reach out to their community by participating with local groups like the Boy and Girl Scouts and the YMCA to offer classes, help the kids earn tech badges and mad digital skills, beautify the local area with tree plantings, and benefit the needy with food drives, etc. They also have a Tech Tots program and summer camps for kids, classes for adults, and offer fun ways for clubs, social media groups, and businesses to gather and network.

Playing with Fresh Paint

Here’s what you might find at the Windows Store:

  • Great Products – Surface, Windows PCs, Windows Phones, Kinect, Xbox, Microsoft Points (Xbox Live Gold), Office, and tons of accessories.
  • Answer Desk – free tech support (even on Mac devices that are running any sort of Windows product), no appointment necessary (but you can make one if you like), parental control options, performance tune-ups, and if you don’t go in the store, you can chat with an Answer Tech online by visiting Microsoftstore.com!
  • Theater & Personal Training Space – where you can get one-on-one or workshop training by Microsoft associates, hour-long classes (they schedule free workshops and offer really good rates on training – currently they have a deal where you can get a full year’s worth of any-time personalized training for only 99$).
  • Community Events – for businesses, gamers, and the community. Including things like this:

Youth Spark Summer Camps (ages 8-13), twice a week, 2 hours a day – digital movies, digital art, gaming, storyteller studio, app building, and more. These classes fill up very quick and are first-come, first-served. In Austin, they are already full for this summer.

Tech Tots Camp, ages 2-5 – learning keyboard skills, using Kinect, embracing technology (parents stay for this event), twice a week. They told me that they still had room in these classes in Austin!

Note: Summer Camp dates/times vary by store, so contact your local Microsoft store to find camp locations and/or sign up: http://content.microsoftstore.com/store/

Gaming Events – launch parties, gamer leagues and competitions, huge prizes

You can even “rent” (for free) the theater space with a 103 inch touch-screen in the Microsoft Store for birthday parties, social networking or blogging gatherings or business meetings. Food and drinks are permitted! It stays busy 70 hours a week in community service.

They love to assist the community in creating tailor-made workshops and often host co-op group classes for HOMESCHOOLERS! Just ask your local store’s Community Development Specialist to set up an event for you! They even give incentives to those who set up multiple meetings within a 12-month period by giving away a 500$ Microsoft hardware or software prize (check your store for details).

To find out more about their classes, events, programs, and products, you can visit them online, connect with them at their Facebook page, on Twitter, and even follow their Pinterest boards.

I’m so excited that they are giving my readers a chance to win a $100 Microsoft gift card (good for anything you can buy in their store). All you have to do to win is answer a question in my comments section (and Raffle-copter will give you the chance to earn extra entries based on sharing about this give-away).

Here’s How to Win:

1. Mandatory Entry: Answer this question in the comments section below – “Did you know about all the Microsoft Store offers? What is your favorite thing I mentioned that you can buy/do there?”

2. Enter on the Raffle-copter and share about this give-away for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The give-away ends at midnight on 5/15 (this Wednesday), and the winner will be listed on this Raffle-copter in this post by 5/16. You have one day to claim your prize or it will go to a runner-up. Don’t forget to participate in the Twitter party tomorrow, too – for other prizes!

For even more fun prizes and chances to win, check out the list of other participating bloggers below!

Or join us tomorrow for the #GoMicrosoft Twitter party, where @MicrosoftStore will be giving away gift certificates and prizes. I’ll be co-hosting along with a large group of fun bloggers that helped them on this campaign!

When: Tuesday, May 14, at 12 Noon CT (the party will last one hour)

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #GoMicrosoft hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite.

TweetGrid for the party: http://bit.ly/11SJxNf

Prizes: @MicrosoftStore will be giving away six prizes to randomly selected winners. Five winners who answer trivia questions during the party will receive $25 Microsoft retail store gift cards, and one grand prize winner will be chosen for a $500 Microsoft retail store gift card!

Here’s a list of tweeters to follow:

Hosts: @MicrosoftStore, @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Co-Hosts:
Heather, Sprittibee@sprittibee (THAT’S ME!)
Candy, Mommypalooza@mommypalooz
Kelly, Kansas City Mamas@KCMamaKelly
Kristen, Dine and Dish@DineandDish
Mara, Kosher on a Budget@kosheronabudget
Claudya, Unknown Mami@UnknownMami
Heather, Rookie Moms@rookiemoms
Jessica, It’s My Life@kikarose
Jen, The Mom Reviews@themomjen
TerriAnn, Cookies and Clogs@cookiesANDclogs
Divina, Dancing Hot Dogs@DancingHotdogs
JessieLeigh, Parenting Miracles@micropreemies
Marianna, Green Mama’s Pad@GreenMamasPad
Rachel, Rachel Ferrucci@RachelFerrucci
Sarah, Sarah’s Cucina Bella@SarahWCaron
Lisa, Crazy Adventures in Parenting@crazyadventures
Clay, Dad Labs@daddyclay
Kim, Prairie Mama@prairiemama
Stephanie, The Candid Pastor’s Wife@stephaniepete
Christine, Boston Mamas@bostonmamas
Christy, Quirky Fusion@QuirkyFusion
Mackenzie, The Centsible Family@TheCentsibleFamily
Erika, Musings of a SAHM@MusingsSAHM

My husband wants a Microsoft Phone. #Austin #microsoftstore

Our Visit to the Microsoft Store

My husband is getting the Microsoft phone with his next AT&T plan upgrade this October. He went with me to the store when we were learning about this campaign and fell in love with it. Microsoft phones are also available with T-Mobile, Verizon, and soon to be Sprint. I thought the custom tile wallpaper with all your most used apps was neat, but another really cool feature was the lock-down kid screen feature that is similar to allowing different log-ins on your PC (very cool for parents of toddlers who allow their kids to play games on their phones and are tired of having the little guys wreck havoc with your phone settings and apps).

For the photography nut like me, I was most impressed with the Zeiss optics on the Nokia Lumia 920 (which also has stronger glass – to prevent shattering – than the other top Microsoft smart phone). Zeiss lenses are spectacular and expensive. I found myself wondering if all my favorite iPhone apps were already in the Microsoft Phone format… until then, I’m probably going to stick with my iPhone because I literally have nearly 40 photo-related apps on my phone and use at least half of them regularly. The photo apps are why I ended up giving up on Android, also. I gave my Galaxy III to my husband recently and he is using it until he can get the Microsoft Phone. Now I’m back to the 4s iPhone and waiting to see if the 6 is going to come out before Christmas before wasting an upgrade on the 5.

My teens are big Xbox fans, so I didn’t have to twist their arms to get them to go with me to the Microsoft Store. They picked up an Xbox Live Gold card and a Microsoft Points card while we were in the store. I now have two teen Minecraft addicts. Kaden bought the map pack for his Black Ops II game he and his daddy like to play together. My teens were especially interested in the new Xbox Music which is similar to Pandora and allows free streaming and a $9.99 a month unlimited download option for use when not connected to the internet.

I didn’t buy anything in the store since I already have Office on my PC, I don’t like video games for the most part, and am not interested in switching to a new phone platform just yet. I was, however, thrilled with the idea of getting my homeschool co-op together for a FREE software training session and field trip in their theater space! Leave it to the homeschool mom to focus on the educational angle. I’ll be setting a group visit up soon and scheduling it for this summer.

I enjoyed meeting the store manager, Russ Zimmerman, and Kristen, who gave me a guided tour of the store. We discussed the phenomenon of tablets (like the Surface) replacing laptops and she let me try out Windows 8 – which is similar to the systems running on smart phones. She joked that phones seem to be getting bigger while laptops are getting smaller – inevitably leading to an end result that will be an all-inclusive tablet type device preventing you from having to carry anything heavy anymore; a “does-it-all” type device. So true. Technology is awesome. Not sure I could part with my keyboard, though… so I hope if the laptop does eventually go away, that there’s some sort of keyboard plug-in option for future smart machines. I’m just no good at texting.

With the way that privacy laws regarding data have been going, I discussed how I’ve been tempted to move away from Google email and go back to my Outlook system where the server is wiped clean and your personal email is stored on your personal computer, rather than on the internet – or the “Borg” as I like to call it. We talked about how Microsoft offers a Sky Drive (similar to the Apple Cloud or Google Drive) and they usually give 7 gigs of space free of charge and always try to offer more than Apple regardless of what bar Apple raises it to. Having Office documents available in a Sky Drive is probably REAL handy for businesses. I personally don’t share that many files online, but I can see a huge benefit to this having been part of the corporate world in my pre-homeschooling past.

While we were visiting the Microsoft Store, they had a birthday party going on in the Theater with a bunch of young boys gaming together… complete with balloons and cake! Such a great idea for bringing in the community to share their love for technology. I’m so glad to have learned more about what Microsoft has going on in my local community!

Want to help us spread the word? Gather your friends for a chance to win this 100$ give-away Microsoft gift card, and join the twitter party for a chance to win multiple 25$ Microsoft gift cards and a grand prize $500 Microsoft gift card!

{ I hope to see you on twitter tomorrow! }

In Him,

Heather

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Microsoft Stores, but the opinions are my own.

Comments

  1. Jeri says

    No! I knew they were coming soon, or had just opened, but I honestly just thought they sold windows and they programs like Word.

  2. says

    That’s pretty cool they have a room for ‘rent’ – I will have to remember that! Do you know how big it is and how long you can have it for? Or, can I find that info on their website?

  3. Jeri says

    Now that I’ve read the whole blog post, I’m really amazed. I use gmail for my email since our main computer was “in the school” but can’t wait to get back to my main pc and use Outlook again. I hate how Google always tries to get our phone #. Even though I’m sure it’s public knowledge for a fee. sigh.

    • says

      My husband told me one of the O’s in Google stands for Obama. 😉 He’s pretty anti-Google all the way around.

  4. says

    I did *not* know about all of the things available through Microsoft stores! I think my favorite thing is the “rent” (for free) the theater space with a 103 inch touch-screen in the Microsoft Store for birthday parties, etc. I would have never known that was available! Thanks for sharing, Heather! :)

  5. says

    I don’t think I even realized there was a Microsoft store. I can certainly think of a ton of things I could buy, though. :-)

  6. says

    Oh wow I didn’t know that they have stores!! And I live in the land of Microsoft too (Washington state!). I think my kids would know what to do with $100 to spend on XBox stuff. LOL

  7. Amanda Sakovitz says

    No I wasn’t really aware of all the special offers. I love that you can You can even rent the theater space with a 103 inch touch-screen in the Microsoft Store for birthday parties, social networking or blogging gatherings or business meetings

  8. Courtnie says

    I didn’t know about the offers, but I like the Answer Desk which has free tech support. That’s awesome and soo helpful!

  9. Beata says

    I have never been inside the store. Very surprised that they have so much to offer. Now I need to go there and check it out.

  10. says

    Before this giveaway, I did not know that they offered classes and as a Daisy mom, I can’t wait to check out the GS meeting offerings.
    :-)
    Traci

  11. Terri Sue says

    I didn’t know about the store here! I like the idea of training! BE blessed!

  12. Jessie C. says

    I didn’t know about Theater & Personal Training Space, thanks for the heads up

  13. Tammy S says

    I didn’t know all about what they have to offer. I really like the Answer Deck. How handy!

  14. B Burton says

    Had no idea they did so much for the community. Can’t wait to find the closest location and see if I can’t make use of their free screening room.

  15. rich morris says

    i did not know about these offers. I think it’s great…especially the training sessions & being able to try before buying. This is great with electronic purchases

  16. Nataly Carbonell says

    I wasn’t aware about their offers neither about their store, which I now think is super cool! love their personal training spaces

  17. D SCHMIDT says

    I did not know they existed at all and my favorite thing is that you can rent the theater space and that they hold workshops.

  18. Larissa says

    I do know about the MS store (as we’re attending a Girl Scout event there next week), but I sure didn’t know about everything else that they offer! I’m totally excited about the theater – I’m going to check it out while I’m there. I’m envisioning many uses for that!!

  19. Wild Orchid says

    I didn’t know there was a microsoft store! I am impressed by their summer camps for kids!

    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

      • Jeri says

        That’s very cool since my dh had to reload his system and we lost our whole Word/Powerpoint/etc. I was hoping we could spend it on something fun, but alas, practicality takes over. Thanks so much, Heather!

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