Microsoft, in regards to Apple, is kind of like an annoying little brother. It’s always copying what Apple does in an attempt to be cool, but it always ends up falling short. The most recent example of shameless Microsoft copying is of course Redmond’s foray into the world of retail. Now, it’s not as if Apple has a monopoly on the retail business, but if you’ve seen photos and/or videos from the first Microsoft Store, which opened up in Scottsdale, Arizona last week, then the blatant rip-off of Apple’s store design is obvious. Microsoft even went so far as to drape its employees in different colored shirts a’la Apple and set up help areas called Guru Bars, which of course bear no similarity to the Genius Bars Apple has at its own stores.
And now, Microsoft is taking things a step further. Yesterday, Microsoft opened up its second retail store in Mission Viejo, California, and plopped it down in a mall where an Apple Store already resides. Coincidence, you say? Well, that might have been plausible had it not been for a Microsoft executive who openly boasted of Microsoft’s intentions to erect its retail stores right next to Apple’s. It’s quite similar to how Burger King used to locate its restaurants based on where McDonald’s set up theirs.
Interestingly, the Apple Store in the Mission Viejo mall is currently closed for renovations, with plans to open up shortly in November. Does this mean that Apple is planning to tweak its store layout there in an attempt to differentiate it from its new and copy-inclined neighbor? Perhaps. And you know what? I wonder what the over/under is on whether or not Microsoft’s retail store will mysteriously “close for construction” shortly after Apple’s opens back up. Just sayin…
Alright, I’m being a bit harsh on MSFT, I admit, so how bout some positive news. Well for starters, their store opening yesterday seemed to be a big hit, with over 1,000 people showing up for the opening festivities. Microsoft employees even cheered as customers walked in for the first time. Hey, wait a minute! Didn’t they steal that idea from some other company? But hey, I’m keeping things positive, so I won’t tell you what company I’m referring to.
Many of the 1,000+ people who swarmed the new Microsoft Store received gift bags loaded with a $25 Zune Pass, ChapStick (huh?), sports bottles, and tickets to see Justin Bieber, a 15 year old Canadian singer. And if you watch the video of the store opening below, it seems that a lot of people showed up just for the free concert tickets as opposed to wanting to see the new aero-shake feature in Windows 7. But to be honest, the aero-shake feature is actually pretty cool, I can’t lie.