Aside from the ability to show off company products, Google may be eyeing the tremendous revenue potential that Apple has demonstrated with its stores. At the conference, Cook noted that the average Apple Store (Apple has more than 400 of them around the world), racked up over $50 million in revenue last year. In total, the stores hosted over 370 million people.
Other companies besides Google have attempted to exploit retail. There were the Gateway stores in the 1990s that demonstrated success for a period of time. Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) has also tried its own retail approach, albeit with mixed results.
Google's reported change in thinking comes just a few months after Sameer Samat, Google Shopping's vice president of product management, told AllThingsD that Google doesn't intend to go the retail route. "We aren't planning on being a retailer," Samat said in an interview. "We don't view being a retailer right now as the right decision."
Google responded to TheStreet's request for comment in an email, saying the company doesn't "comment on rumor or speculation."Shares of Google were higher in Tuesday trade, gaining 1.29% to $803.10. --Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Commodity_Bull