Shocking! Microsoft to copy Apple and open Microsoft retail stores next to Apple’s

Thu, Jul 16, 2009


There’s an old joke about how Burger King decides where to open up a new restaurant – they look for a McDonalds and open up shop nearby.

They might be in different industries, but it appears that Microsoft has taken a page out of Burger King’s playbook.  In a keynote speech delivered yesterday at the WorldWide Partner Conference, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner explained that Microsoft will soon roll out a number of Microsoft branded retail stores nationwide.  And where will they be located? Why right next to existing Apple stores, of course.  To be fair, I suppose that being original was never one of Microsoft’s strong suits.

Turner explained that Microsoft’s stores wouldn’t mimic Apple’s retail stores in appearance (wow, that’s surprising), and that Redmond would instead be innovative in coming up with store designs.  Why do I get the feeling that this is a disaster waiting to happen?

While it remains unclear what products Microsoft is planning to house in its new retail stores, Microsoft is reportedly aiming to use its stores as a showcase for Microsoft technologies and products, rather than a place to generate sales.  Such a strategy, however, has proven to be quite unsuccessful for a number of other tech companies such as Gateway and Sony, but if any company has money to burn in the interest of brand awareness and marketing, it’s Microsoft.

Turner noted that Microsoft is poised open up its branded stores sometime this fall, and presumably will time it to coincide with the release of Windows 7 which is scheduled to hit store shelves on October 22.



7 Comments For This Post

  1. Harvey Says:

    You’d think that Microsoft would want to place their shops as far away from Apple Stores as possible, so that people coming into the Microsoft stores don’t have Apple’s hardware and software as a comparison next door.

    Hey, maybe this Turner guy is actually a mole for Apple 😉

  2. Shawn Says:

    Well somebody has to try and sell all those Zunes…

  3. Alan Smith Says:

    Well, maybe they’ll be giving away those Zunes. I’ll take one, two, or three of them. My papers are flying off my desk and I need a paper weight.

  4. Melvin Beavis III Says:

    This has FAIL written all over it.

    Apple is primarily a hardware company that sells mostly to consumers. Stores in upscale shopping malls are ideal for the purpose. Apple has waited years for available storefronts in prime locations.

    Microsoft is primarily a software company that sells directly to the corporate market. It takes sales weasels making the rounds to move the product. Consumers get most of their MS products as OEM whether they want them or not. What can Microsoft sell in a retail store? Zunes, Xboxes, and full-price boxed copies of Windows 7? People can already buy that stuff at Best Buy.

    Microsoft does not have time to open a full size store, but maybe a kiosk out in the mall in front of the Apple store would be enough space for their limited range of consumer products. That puts them in the same league as the kiosks selling cell phones, perfume, and cheap jewelry.

  5. lrd Says:

    Cheap is the keyword for MS.

  6. Neil Anderson Says:

    Maybe they could build their stores out of leftover Zunes.

  7. Jamie Says:

    It astounds me how big the lack of originality is at Microsoft. I’m no raving Apple fanboy, but it’s not hard to see just how much Microsoft is desperate to be Apple, in so many small and big ways. Look at their branding on their website, and see how much it has changed in the last few years. And then look at all the crap they are trying to produce. It’s smacks so hard of Microsoft being so desperate to be ‘cool’ in the way that Apple is perceived. The thing is though, what they don’t realize is that no-one desires Microsoft stuff, however hard they market it. They try to hard, whereas people actually desire Apple. The only place I smell innovation at Redmond is Xbox.

    So now they are going the full wham and going to open up stores next to Apple’s, no doubt trying to be exactly the same. Guru-bars? What bull.

    These ‘display stores’ for Microsoft can guarantee 3 things in my opinion. 1) They won’t close down – they have enough money to keep them open. 2) Even if they try, they won’t be the same experience as an Apple shop – customer support won’t be there because they have so many PC brands to flog, and you can guarantee the interior design won’t be anything like the stylish modern and clean look in the Apple Stores. 3) In two weeks after them opening, their display Xboxs will illuminate the shop with a red glow of RROD, meanwhile the PCs crash + BSOD.

    Microsoft needs to get itself out of this mess. If they want brand respect like Apple, they need to learn that being desperate gets you NOWHERE. Change your name, get a rebrand, and wake up Microsoft.

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