Microsoft effort to replicate Apple fails; all Microsoft retail stores to shut down

Well, it took long enough, but even Microsoft’s patience for perpetuating a grand ruse has its limits. The company will shutter all of its 80 or so of its remaining retail stores – the exact number seems to be unknown, since nobody cares; at one point they had at least 100 empty spaces scattered about – as the company has yet again failed to replicate Apple’s success.

Microsoft Retail Store in Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona
Microsoft’s first Retail Store opened in in Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona in 2009

Dan Weil for TheStreet:

Microsoft announced Friday a permanent closure of its physical retail stores… The closings will result in a pre-tax charge of about $450 million, or 5 cents per share, to be recorded in the current quarter ending June 30.

“Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location,” Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter said in the statement.

MacDailyNews Take: Bwahahahahaha!

COVID-19 finally woke up Satya Nadella (or provided him with a convenient excuse to dump a Friday announcement of failure).

Microsoft’s web site indicates that it has about 80 stores. The company began opening stores in 2009, seeking to replicate Apple’s success with its Apple Stores.

MacDailyNews Take: It took eleven years of Microsoft pumping cash down the rat hole, but reality eventually hits even those with billions of dollars to waste.

Frustration and mediocrity hardly beckon for a retail showcase. This is just more half-assed copying of Apple. What are they going to do, instead of intricate staircases, install glass ledges from which their suckers customers can leap?

At least Microsoft Retail Stores would be colorful with all of their Red Rings and Blue Screens of Death and Brown Zunes on clearance.

At Microsoft Retail Store Grand Openings, the first 1,000 people to visit get a free bottle of Pepto. Microsoft will still have 900+ bottles left after the first week.

Fact: If they tried to open retail stores, Microsoft would be about as successful as Gateway or Dell. Anyone who says differently lacks even the vaguest understanding of why Apple dominates retail like none other.MacDailyNews Take, February 12, 2009

Rarely have we seen a concept so universally derided as Microsoft retail stores. Even Vista and Zune were better received. The fact that Microsoft is seriously considering retail stores is proof positive that the company’s “management” has an unmeasurably over-inflated opinion of the company. They’re completely delusional. It’s as if they don’t realize that they suck. And that’d actually be somewhat sad, if it weren’t so effing funny! — MacDailyNews Take, February 13, 2009

Steve Ballmer
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Yet another fiasco from Ballmer T. Clown and Co.MacDailyNews, October 19, 2009

Free concert tickets are the only way Microsoft can generate fake crowds for their fake stores.MacDailyNews, March 13, 2012

Microsoft’s retail stores are simply another thing in a long line of bad Apple simulations that pale in comparison to the real thing.

We fail to recognize what Microsoft’s plan is. Oh, wait, they don’t have one. This is Ballmer-era abject stupidity from which Nadella doesn’t seem to have figured out how to extract the company. So, on some preordained schedule, they just keep opening stores that never pay for themselves and just bleed money. Nadella seems to be afraid to take the PR hit that would come from sensibly ending this debacle and hanging “CLOSED” signs in the windows… er, Windows.

The whole thing is ludicrous and inexplicable.MacDailyNews, May 11, 2016


    1. A good portion of Microsoft’s valuation rests on the fact that they copied the Mac (poorly), so Apple deserves much of the credit for MSFT’s current overvaluation.

    2. But it’s build on top of nothing have they caught up to Apple in anything important tech wise, the areas they are strong in just like Intel Apple can pick off at anytime.

  1. My one visit to a Microsoft store was PAINFUL. After getting great customer service at an Apple store, I walked through the mall and saw a Microsoft store. At the time I had a “minor” problem with my corporate laptop and decided to stop in and see what they had to say. Let’s just say that the Microsoft person was completely baffled and basically was in over her head as far as providing any meaningful technical assistance. I said to her, “It’s Ok to tell me you don’t know when you don’t know.” She said: “we are not allowed to say that”. After a little while longer, when I was leaving I said to her “I’m sorry you have to work here, maybe you can get a better job soon.” She said: “Hopefully real soon”.

    I went home, checked the web and solved my problem in 10 minutes.

    That Microsoft store had no reason to be there. Fundamentally, they had 3rd party stuff there that should not have been.

    Having said all of that, I have noticed a decrease in the quality of the knowledge that individuals at Apple stores have now. It’s sad. They need to add to the training the employees get.

    1. The first generation of Apple store staff were Macheads. Also, fewer staffers were required, so Apple could choose the cream of the crop. Nowadays, there are so many more products and most staffer’s first Apple products seems to have been iPods or iPhones, so the Mac knowledge isn’t a great as it was 19 years ago back in 2001.

    2. I had two of the most miserable retail experiences ever at an Apple Store. They weren’t all that way, there were good ones too. Suffice it to say one involved nonexistent iPhone “water damage” ( for which I eventually received a $304 check) the other involved a restocking fee. Thus s cynic was born.

      Other experiences were stellar. But fitting to your point, I brought my Mini in for a part (ir receiver) and had an appointment. While I was waiting, a store employee asked is they could help me. I politely said no, but he insisted. So I popped open the bottom of the Mini and pointed to the part I was picking up. Defuse informs me that I just voided my warranty. I sent him to his mother, got my “genius” and my part and went on my curmudgeonly way.

    1. Microsoft will now become worth a lot more due to less overhead. Microsoft’s retail stores likely contributed to about 1% of their revenue. Analysts will claim that the loss of those stores doesn’t matter at all and they’re probably right. I think I read somewhere that the staff will be transferred and have other duties, so at least there won’t be any layoffs.

      1. Microsoft is built upon last year tech first Intel then Microsoft, they haven’t been push hard by Apple on their home ground yet, but that will start with Apple Silicon.

        Which is why across the internet the IT/Tech Geeks are in a rage over Apple Silicon.

        1. No geek will be in a rage over an unreleased product, especially of this magnitude, and if they are it’s not about function, it’s about money. Birth of a shill.

    1. You have no idea. I once saw a parent put a crying baby put on the ground to roam a bit just inside a Microsoft store, it immediately stopped crying as it crawled out the exit, onto the mall, and toward the Apple Store directly across the hallway.

  2. “The company began opening stores in 2009, seeking to replicate Apple’s success with its Apple Stores.”

    Yes, well, one of the reasons that Apple was so successful with its stores is that it featured compelling, must-have products in its stores. Had reasonably knowledgable, polite sales staff, and the stores themselves were gorgeous galleries displaying envy-inducing, cutting edge products.

    Microsoft had none of that. No lines for new stuff, no excitement, no iPod or iPhone lust. The interest in those relatively lower cost Apple devices would often translate into interest in Apple’s other product offerings, sometimes developing lifelong customers

    When you have no compelling products, or unique shopping experiences to offer, all you have left with is a storefront with an empty showroom. This was Microsoft’s primary problem in duplicating the success of Apple.

  3. Please lets be a little more sensitive right now about this issue in this Pandemic. People are losing there jobs and are unable to provide for their families.

  4. I’m willing to bet Microsoft stock goes up in value due to the stores’ closing. Closing of the Microsoft retail stores will be seen as a positive thing by big investors. Just the way Microsoft’s value went up after sinking billions of dollars into their WindowsPhone mobile effort and they got nothing back in return. Some stocks simply never lose value because big investors remain confident in a company’s core strength. Microsoft is one of those companies. Heaven help Apple if it closes any stores. Analysts will claim Apple is surely going out of business.

  5. I went to the Scottsdale one in 09. It was directly across from the Apple Store! The decor was very similar, but it was missing something! CUSTOMERS!

  6. The difference from being inspired by and rank copying my friend. The former often goes on to greater things, the latter flounders in mediocrity and confusion and aims at its height to be merely ‘good enough’ to fool the masses. Those masses when given choice usually see through it in the end. The failure of the shops is a wonderful microcosm of that effect in action likes others have found no matter how much you talk it up how much you spend in PR to persue the perception of success, the lie is time limited particular when presented to those who think for themselves.

    1. MS forced geeks, nerds, and dour IT defuses to listen to hand clapping when the clapping is for consumers such as the Apple store. So it was largely misapplied to the wrong crowd. But MS was always about force-feeding either bad stuff or the wrong stuff on people.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.