Microsoft’s retail stores struggle in shadow of packed Apple Retail Stores

“Nearly six years have passed since Microsoft began opening retail outlets patterned after Apple’s blockbuster retail locations,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider. “However, the now 116 Microsoft Stores are still a pale imitation to Apple’s own retail network of 460 locations, often featuring more employees than customers as the firm’s products have failed to excite and attract buyers.”

“Microsoft opened its first retail chain outlets about 8 years and six months after Apple introduced its first stores,” Dilger reports. “The first Apple Stores achieved profitability almost immediately, and subsequently played a major role in helping to launch new products ranging from iPods to iPhone and iPad over the next decade. Microsoft hoped to emulate Apple’s success with stores featuring virtually identical layouts, display furniture and features such as its own version of the ‘Apple Store Genius Bar,’ but has never really attracted the same kind of excitement.”

Dilger reports, “The San Francisco Microsoft Store is located in a high traffic mall near Apple’s own flagship Union Square store just across Market Street, but while the Apple Store is usually always packed with shoppers and customers seeking assistance with their products, Microsoft’s store typically has only a few shoppers at a time, and a significant proportion seem to only be there to play on a display Xbox.”

Read more, and see the rather funny (or sad from Microsoft’s POV) contrasting photos in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And, yet, the never-ending sham continues.

Microsoft to open five-level Fifth Avenue retail store next month – September 30, 2015
Microsoft retail store moving in one door over, Apple Retail Store moving on up – March 13, 2012
Microsoft retail store traffic pales in comparison to Apple’s – November 26, 2010
Microsoft retail fiasco to remodel? Apple files trademark for distinctive retail store layout – May 19, 2010
Microsoft Retail Stores have to resort to free concert tickets to generate opening day crowds – October 30, 2009
Notes from Microsoft’s first retail store: ‘Cheap, disorganized, and poorly-located’ (with photo) – October 23, 2009
Microsoft’s Windows 7 launch parties prove to be complete and utter failures – October 23, 2009
Microsoft’s Bizarro Universe: 8 years late; in garish color; featuring inferior products (w/ video) – October 22, 2009
Analyst expects Apple to have over 1,000 retail stores open worldwide within next few years – October 08, 2009
Microsoft attempting to poach Apple retail staff – September 22, 2009
Apple likely Fifth Avenue’s highest grossing retailer – August 24, 2009
Microsoft to open first two retail stores in Mission Viejo, California and Scottsdale, Arizona – July 29, 2009
Microsoft to mimic Apple (what else is new?) with ‘Guru Bars’ in retail stores – July 25, 2009
Ex-Apple VP a key figure in Microsoft’s retail initiative – July 20, 2009
Microsoft to have hard time matching the enthusiasm at Apple retail stores – July 18, 2009
Microsoft to open retail stores near Apple Retail Stores this fall – July 15, 2009
How Microsoft’s retail stores plan to compete with Apple’s – April 17, 2009
Microsoft Retail Stores: The dumbest idea ever – February 13, 2009
How Microsoft’s retail stores will differ from Apple’s – February 13, 2009
Microsoft’s new retail guru Porter has history of working against Apple – February 13, 2009
Microsoft’s last retail store attempt was a dismal failure – February 13, 2009
Microsoft hires Wal-Mart vet to oversee development of Microsoft Retail Stores – February 12, 2009


      1. MS attempt to use it as a study hall, providing some interesting classes to those who are interested. They try! But the fact is that MS users aren’t enthusiasts. They’re victims. That is beautifully reflected when comparing the success of MS vs Apple Stores.

    1. Those Microsoft retail stores are pretty much insignificant as far as Microsoft’s revenues and investors are concerned. As of this year, I believe Microsoft has about $96 billion in cash and short-term investments they can tap into, so Chapter 11 isn’t going to happen with Microsoft. They’re not going anywhere and it’s likely Microsoft’s share price will meet price targets long before Apple’s does. Microsoft keeps taking hits and yet the share price keeps rising as it’s P/E expands.

  1. I ocassionally sit outside the MS South Coast Plaza store in Costa Mesa waiting for my wife to return.

    It is painful to watch a crowded mall and only a hand full of customers in the MS store being served by twice as many MS employees (while some employees are doing dance demos.)

  2. It’s hard to suggest something struggles, when it never was alive. Micosoft stores represent, something that exists for the sole reason that something else exists, such the Apple Store. It’s of parasitic in nature, taking in air hoping that Apple will have less of it.

  3. I was at Vancouver Pacific Centre Mall last Friday, on the way to the Apple store to look at the new iPhones I passed the Microsoft store. It looks like a complete rip off done on the cheap. There were about 6 employees, 2 chatting to each other inside, 2 chatting to each other at the entrance and the other 2 looking after the 2 customers in the the store. The Apple store was packed full with a line-up of people outside the door to pick up their ordered iPhones.

  4. I can assure you there won’t be any analyst reports telling about how poorly Microsoft retail stores are doing. But if one Apple retail store doesn’t have enough customers to suit the analysts they’ll be sure to report Apple’s suspected demise to every investor within earshot.

    I don’t care if Microsoft doesn’t mainly rely on their retail stores for sales. It still must be costing Microsoft a fair amount to keep those stores up and running and they’re not making much from having them. Bloggers are already calling AppleMusic a failure but no one says anything about Microsoft retail stores being a failure. It’s simply unfair reporting bias against Apple while ignoring other companies’ troubles.

    1. That’s because whether Microsoft’s business is soft or robust, the press have learned that Apple stories interest more people, even empty or recycled stories and even manufactured rumours. It’s now the accepted business model for reporting, even though principles of journalism have gone out the window. Principles don’t matter as much as they used to now that writers and publishers struggle to keep food on the table. They are simply forced to accept the judgments of analytics firms about what people look at on the internet. Print journalism is all but dead now, but even in its heyday it was advertisers who paid for the whole shebang with their costly display ads. Only with the advent of internet analytics were these advertisers able to target their ads to specific demographic sectors and increase their profits. This is how Google got rich, and lost their souls. The love of money is the root of all evil. The same inevitable corruption has overtaken Facebook and other firms who live on monetisation of their assets, which are people and their personal information. I wonder if Twitter will go down the same rabbit hole to Hell, now that Jack Dorsey is back at the helm. He seems reborn, like a Steve Jobs II. Time will tell if Wall Street responds to this, or to any other positive development in Tech for that matter, with anything other than their usual blend of cowardice, cynicism, and lack of imagination. The collective “wisdom” of the market is that the invisible hand caresses only the tried and true. They will never stop believing that; it is as much an article of faith as may be found in any religious sect.

      1. Just give it up and move to Sweden already, since you hate markets so much and you think like a collectivist.

        The love of money is a root of (many kinds or all kinds) of evil.

        The problem is not money, but people who can be bought. Of course, you don’t care about that, because that means you have to look inside yourself instead of blaming some group of people or some inanimate object.

  5. I feel sorry for Microsoft; no matter how hard they try, they truly just don’t get it.

    “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products. I am saddened, not by Microsoft’s success, I have no problem with their success. They’ve earned their success, for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.”
    Steve Jobs, 1995

    1. “they truly just don’t get it.”

      Well, Satya must be getting something as they just released 3 or 4 new hardware products to put in their stores, after years of ‘the same old thing.’

      Maybe MS will come up to the plate and start challenging Apple and forcing Apple into new innovations?

        1. not to rain on the MS bashing but MS just kicked apples ass, it may not show up in sales yet or ever but for the last year MS has been the more innovating company…Apple release a new phone sleak as hell but same old stuff, an ok watch that I returned and a “pro” pad hhhmmmm wonder where that idea came from. ms is innovating, weather or not they can sale anything is yet to be seen.

  6. Yeah, they are a LOT of help. Mother-in-law was using her outlook account to log into her windows 8 box. After upgrading to Windows 10, she decided to modify from a picture login to a regular login, but forgot her password. Trips to the Microsoft store resulted in their employees not EVEN lifting a finger to help.
    To add insult to injury, their final solution was to go home and wipe it. Lose pictures, music, everything. A follow up call to Microsoft on the phone, they wouldn’t reset it, and told her to wipe it as well. Great customer service there. Let them continue to lose money, they deserve it.

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