Dvorak: Microsoft needs Microsoft-branded PCs for their retail stores

With both “earnings and revenue down, [Microsoft] has got to make some changes. Microsoft Chief Steve Ballmer’s excuse for this decline seems to be the difficulties of the recession,” John C. for MarketWatch. “So why doesn’t Apple Inc. have these same difficulties?”

Dvorak writes, “It’s time for Microsoft to take the next step in its evolution and build out a branded computer that it can eventually sell in the slated Microsoft stores… Are these [Microsoft] stores going to be clones of CompUSA or Egghead or any other number of failed stores seen in the past?”

MacDailyNews Take: From the looks of them, Microsoft Stores are designed to be to Apple Retail Stores what Windows is to Mac and Zune is to iPod+iTunes: Ill-conceived, poorly-executed bastardizations of Apple products.

Dvorak continues, “The mistake that has been consistently made in the past is trying to be a grocery store where you have a huge variety of things to sell… From the reports so far, this mistake sounds like what Microsoft is going to do. These stores will become the Waterloo for Steve Ballmer. If Microsoft is going to use the grocery store model, then I’d cancel the stores immediately.”

“Microsoft does not need to be servicing a Dell laptop retuned by a customer now blaming Microsoft for its failure,” Dvorak writes. “A failure in this [retail store] venue could be catastrophic for Microsoft. It needs branded hardware to be a success. It’s that simple.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The day Microsoft releases a Microsoft PC is the the day Steve Jobs signs strict Mac OS X licensing deals (in which Apple closely approves and certifies the hardware) with HP, Sony, Lenovo, and/or other PC box assemblers (Dell can SIDAGTMBTTS). With $30+ billion in the bank, iPhone, iPod (and maybe even a tablet) Apple could easily afford to take whatever hit to Mac hardware sales would occur with such a move.* The personal computer operating system landscape would change dramatically for the better overnight.

*Apple would retain certain advantages (unibody construction for notebooks, Jonny Ive design, for just two examples) that nobody would be able to match, so the hit to Apple’s Mac hardware business might be less than some might think at first glance.


  1. Well, how about Apple buying out Sony (the two companies have always had some similarities, such as the ability to add high-end media and DTP software that’s actually good at the point of ordering, and similar display and casing revolutions) and then we’d see what M$ would do with the remaining over-glossy horrible smarmy HP and the frankly dire Dell.

  2. What hit? How many Xbox’s with RED EYE of DEATH syndrome does it take for people to understand that in the technical excellence category M$ is trash. The only hardware that M$ makes that I will consider buying is their input peripherals. It seems to be the only dept. at M$ that does good work.

    just my $0.02

  3. Oops, clicked “submit” too soon… relevant paragraph: “This will subsequently make it tempting, if not simply necessary, for Microsoft to release its own PC in order to keep its retail stores afloat, just as every other retailer sells its own house brand. After killing off its PlaysForSure partners and Windows Mobile partners, how secure will HP, Dell and Acer be in thinking that Microsoft won’t take away their businesses as well? After all, it makes no sense for Microsoft to operate retail stores that do nothing but lose money while its PC makers profit.”

  4. This is a totally stupid idea. Why would Microsoft go after their hardware partners? That would surely drive some of them to other solutions such as Linux. In my opinion, a Microsoft retail store makes no sense at all. I predict they will be closed with one year.

  5. The Big Ass Table (BAT) is irrelevant to this discussion. No individual is going to walk into a MS store and purchase a big ass table. Also – there is no-one else marketing a big ass table – so Microsoft did not have to worry about competing with a partner (or potential partner). A Microsoft branded laptop makes no sense at all. Maybe even less sense than a Microsoft retail store.

  6. He’s just trolling for hits but Dvorak is actually right. M$ wants to be like Apple and the only way to do that is to “build the whole widget”. Won’t ever happen of course & even if it did it’s M$ so they’d screw it up.

  7. if MS started selling MS PC’s, all its doublle-crossed OEM “partners” would start selling cheaper Linux PC’s. that would be the beginning of the end of the Windows monopoly. so i don’t think so.

    although … there are credible rumors that MS intends to do exactly this with a WinMo 7 “pink” phone next year, stabbing its smartphone OEM’s in the back (in the face, actually), who will then mostly switch to Android (which is Linux).

    so maybe MS will test this idea with smartphones first and then, if it pays off, do it with PC’s too in a couple of years. could happen.

    (except an MS PinkPhone would be another Zune-like dog and flop.)

  8. Apple will never license OS X to PC makers, period. They are a hardware company that uses software to differentiate themselves. It’s part of their brand and their reputation. Giving that to other companies would be a terrible mistake. They’re doing just fine the way they are.

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