Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) apparently is making the decision to join other retailers in moving their Black Friday deals to earlier in the week. However, while some retailers like Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) are planning to open their stores Thanksgiving night – much to the public chagrin of many workers – Microsoft is not doing similar things at its Microsoft Stores locations. However, online it is a different world.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced this week that it will have its online Microsoft Store Black Friday deals available on the retail Web site starting at 3 a.m. ET Thursday (midnight Pacific), with the deals expected to be effective through Sunday. There is no word yet whether the online deals will be the same or better than what will be in the brick-and-mortal retail stores when they open for business Friday morning. However, the move to post deals Thursday is consistent with other retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Best Buy Co. Ltd. (NYSE:BBY) and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) to show Black Friday deals online prior to Black Friday. Amazon is already providing its Black Friday deals, while the other two retailers announced that their deals will be available on their Web sites Thursday.
A couple of the deals that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is previewing on its retail Web site included a three-month Xbox Live Gold membership for $13 (nearly half off the regular $25), as well as some Xbox 360 games for as much as $35 off their regular price. Another deal announced was a Microsoft Office 2010 suite for $100, which is 33 percent off the regular price. The site also advertises selling Acer and Vizio laptops at discounted prices, though the discounts aren’t clear because the specs of the laptops aren’t listed yet.
What do you think about this move by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)? Do you think it should be competing with partner retailers directly in selling its services, or should it just lower its MSRP for them to make things easier for the partners? Does this move benefit the company, and how would you react to this if you were an investor like billionaire fund manger David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital?