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.