Microsoft’s planned retail store initiative will soon get underway with stores in Scottsdale, Arizona and Mission Viejo, California scheduled to open up for business later this fall. Reports of Microsoft’s plans to enter the cutthroat world of retail first surfaced in early February, and since then, Redmond has seemingly been copying the Apple retail playbook page for page.
Most recently, sources tell Loop Insight that Microsoft has already begun making overtures to current Apple Store managers, offering them “significant raises” and moving expenses should they decide to jump ship and start working for Microsoft. Not only that, but Apple managers who reportedly take the Redmond plunge subsequently begin asking some of their top sales people if they’d like to work for Microsoft, with a higher salary again being the bait.
While I certainly can’t speak for all Apple retail employees, the impression I get from the Apple employees I do know is that the staff is largely comprised of individuals who made a pro-active decision to seek out employment at an Apple Store so that they can help sell products they enjoy using and are enthusiastic about. That being the case, Microsoft may very well be luring over Apple retail employees at the expense of hiring individuals who are naturally excited about the store they work in and the products they’re tasked with selling.
Though this is the first we’ve heard of Microsoft luring away Apple retail employees, Microsoft’s still nascent retail initiative already borrows heavily from Apple.
Earlier this summer, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner explained that Microsoft is planning a nationwide roll out of Microsoft retail stores beyond the two currently scheduled to open in Arizona and California. And where exactly will these new stores be located? Well, according to Turner, a good number of them will open for business right next to existing Apple Stores.
Next, Microsoft hired George Blankenship, Apple’s former VP of Retail, who is widely credited, along with Ron Johnson, for the decision to place Apple Stores in upscale and high trafficked shopping areas.
But wait, there’s more! A lot more.
In late July, a leaked powerpoint of a proposed Microsoft Store layout seemed to mimic the layout in Apple Stores down to a tee.
Look eerily familiar?
And ever been to the Genius bar? Well Microsoft has something similar up its sleeve, only they call their version the “Guru Bar.” Catch the difference?
So yeah, Microsoft’s retail initiative is about to get underway, and it’ll be interesting to see just how Apple inspired the final stores will actually look like.