Microsoft targets Apple with new retail stores

Microsoft’s forthcoming Scottsdale, Arizona retail store’s “spacious floor plan will showcase everything from laptops running Windows 7 to mobile phones running Microsoft software to Xbox 360 game consoles, which customers will be able to play on a 94-inch screen in the store,” Nick Wingfield reports for The Wall Street Journal, citing “a person familiar with the matter.”

“Microsoft also expects to open a second store in a mall in Mission Viejo, Calif., in the next few weeks, with plans to slowly roll out more if the first ones are successful,” Wingfield reports.

“The stores are a clear nod to Apple Inc.’s success in retail. They also underscore the lengths to which Microsoft is willing to go to connect with consumers after stumbling in recent years with products such as Windows Vista, an operating system plagued by early technical problems that helped Apple gain ground with the Macintosh,” Wingfield reports.

“Entering the retail business is riskier for Microsoft than it was for Apple. While Apple had fewer potential business conflicts because it had such weak support from retailers when it opened its first store in 2001, Microsoft depends on existing partners in the retail business that could be threatened by the company’s expansion into their turf,” Wingfield reports. “Microsoft’s hardware partners could also be angered by its decisions about which devices to stock and which to exclude from its store shelves.”

Wingfield reports, “The most eye-catching element of Microsoft’s store designs is likely to be the wall-sized high-definition screens, according to someone who has seen them. Laptops, mobile phones, Zunes and other devices will be arranged on spacious tables inside the stores.”

MacDailyNews Take: So, portable PCs with an inferior OS (hopefully with industrial-strength antivirus and malware prevention software, not that it’ll work), WinMo 6.5 mobile phones that nobody wants, Zunes that nobody wants, and Xboxes red-ringing themselves to death. Enticing.

Wingfield continues, “The store will also have a counter, akin to the Genius Bars in Apple stores, where people will be able to bring products powered by Microsoft software for technical help, said a person familiar with the matter.”

MacDailyNews Take: That’ll be one busy Genius Bar, er… whatever they’re going to call it. “Dweeb Counter?”

Wingfield continues, “Microsoft has recruited a handful of employees from rival Apple stores. A former Apple executive, George Blankenship, who helped Apple launch its stores has also consulted with Microsoft on its retail plans, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Unsurprisingly, Microsoft doesn’t get it. They really seem to believe that people actually want to use their Windows and Office products, but most just feel forced to use them or actually are forced to use them. Then they have the Zune failure, the Xbox which is a horribly-built perpetual money loser, and WinMo the laughingstock – which is what the company has been for years now under Ballmer the Clown. These stores are a joke, too.


  1. I think I am not the only person who will see these next to Apple Stores and think that Microsoft are copying again. In fact, most grandmothers could probably tell you that.

  2. I think Microsoft is also suffering from the delusion that people just don’t “get” how “awesome” their products are. I think they’ve swallowed their own “Mac cult” kool-aid, and think if they just ape enough of Apple’s moves that people will magically flock to their stores.

    This also feels like the result of a “blamestorming” session. “Why are Windows Media players not selling? Our hardware partners are to blame!” – hence, the Zune. “Why are our products not selling? Retailers are to blame!” – hence, the Microsoft stores.

  3. They should have Monkeyboy-Ballmer make the rounds and visit each store in person. I’m thinking a dunk tank setup where you get to throw a Zune at him and if you hit the target he drops into a tank of goo.

    I would go.

  4. Grist for the mill. Imagine the Comedy Central these stores will become, fueling the lampoon engines for years.

    “Ah, I need help with re-installing (for the fourth time) Windows7 on my Ho Chi Mihn desktop. It’s out in the truck. Can somebody help carry it in?”

  5. David Goldstein: “I give them two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake.”

    This was said in May of 2001 about Apple Stores. I’m sure everyone here would feel much more comfortable using the same phrase on this new MS experiment. I’m curious what would Mr. Goldstein have to say about it.

  6. I think this is funny. Microsoft owns the planet. They have 95% market share. They own the business, government & consumer users. Yet they keep trying to squish and destroy any kind of success that Apple has. No matter how small of a success that Apple makes, Microsoft is hell bent on destroying that gain. Why? Do they really hate Apple that much? Do they just want 100% of the planet?

  7. Heard at the “Dweeb Counter”…

    That’s not our problem. Please contact HP tech support. Next…

    That’s not our problem. Please contact Dell tech support. Next…

    That’s not our problem. Please contact Verizon tech support. Next…

    That’s not our problem. Oh… sorry, that’s actually a Zune. I guess that one is our problem.

  8. Oh, yeah. MS is real concerned that OS X may actually attain 5% world marketshare. In spite of all your righteous indignation MS will copy OS X’s features making Windows and OS X less and less different. Rather than being content or satisfied with having OS X, you complain about MS’s world dominance. This make you petty and childish. You seem to never enjoy what you have. Instead you constantly and continually obsess about Windows. You dolts think more about Windows and MS on a daily basis than all PC users worldwide. What a sad pathetic bunch of losers.

  9. As I have been saying for weeks now, these Microsoft stores can only benefit Apple in the long run, if they last that long, which I very much doubt. The more people have a chance to compare side by side Apple’s and MS offerings, the more obvious the right choice will be.

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