SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "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.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."