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Key Apple retail exec now shaping Microsoft stores

post #1 of 136
Thread Starter 
Once one of the cornerstones of Apple's early retail efforts, real estate expert George Blankenship has switched sides and is now providing advice to Microsoft on plans for its own stores.

Microsoft has confirmed that Blankenship is now consulting with the company for its first retail stores, the first of which should open in the fall.

Details of what the former executive will do haven't been made clear, in his role as Apple's VP of real estate he was instrumental to Apple's at times counterintuitive strategy for finding ideal store locations. Instead of choosing store locations purely to avoid high lease prices or insisting on locating them in technology-centric shopping areas, Blankenship from 2001 onwards insisted on placing stores in high-traffic areas and frequently in locations that were considered upscale shopping districts. The original Tokyo flagship store, for example, was placed in the fashion district of Ginza rather than in the technology haven of Akihabara. Apple counted on the sheer volume of business overcoming any costs associated with running the store in such an expensive space.

The strategy has helped Apple grow its business to produce $1.47 billion in revenue in just its latest quarter while some of its Windows PC-making rivals have met with poorer results. Gateway was eventually forced to shutter its stores after both choosing cheap, out-of-the-way locations and never carrying PCs in store; Dell has only produced a small number of similar test-only stores and was eventually forced to offer PCs to third-party retail stores to compete against Apple, Gateway, HP and other top-tier computer makers.



This success is likely to have prompted Microsoft's request for help and virtually confirms that Microsoft primarily intends to shadow Apple's approach when possible. The Windows manufacturer's COO Kevin Turner has already said that its upcoming stores will be located close to Apple's when possible. He has previously vowed that Microsoft wouldn't imitate the actual in-store experience but would "innovate" in the long run. Its own Retail Experience Center test mule near its campus has provided an early look at its plans and includes demo PCs that present an ideal view of Microsoft's product integration, such as Windows PCs set up for media editing.

A leak accompanying this previous news hints that Blankenship's experience at Apple may not rub off on the rest of Microsoft's retail plans, however. Although the stores may sit near Apple's in the future, they're poised to largely be showcases meant to advertise the Windows, Xbox and Zune brands and less to actually sell products. As such, Microsoft will be paying for expensive leases but won't necessarily recoup its investment through actual sales.
post #2 of 136
Traitor!
post #3 of 136
Computer City
CompUSA
PC Shack
The Mediocre Guys
CopyCats
post #4 of 136
What caught my eye was the model.
post #5 of 136
Burn him
post #6 of 136
What caught my eye was the shopping cart. Can you picture that in an Apple Store?

So they expect me to go to their store not necessarily to buy something but to experience their advertising. Why would I do that when I'm constantly muting their TV ads?
post #7 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

This success is likely to have prompted Microsoft's request for help and virtually confirms that Microsoft primarily intends to shadow Apple's approach when possible. The Windows manufacturer's COO Kevin Turner has already said that its upcoming stores will be located close to Apple's when possible. He has previously vowed that Microsoft wouldn't imitate the actual in-store experience but would "innovate" in the long run. Its own Retail Experience Center test mule near its campus has provided an early look at its plans and includes demo PCs that present an ideal view of Microsoft's product integration, such as Windows PCs set up for media editing.

Stories like this make me hate Microsoft even more. I have to laugh at the notion that MS would "innovate" in the long run. LOL!
post #8 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCad View Post

What caught my eye was the shopping cart. Can you picture that in an Apple Store?

So they expect me to go to their store not necessarily to buy something but to experience their advertising. Why would I do that when I'm constantly muting their TV ads?

With that cart she looks like she is browsing in an Office Depot or Staples Office Supply.

And talk about innovation! MS has invented advert-shopping!
post #9 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by HCrefugee View Post

With that cart she looks like she is browsing in an Office Depot or Staples Office Supply.

And talk about innovation! MS has invented advert-shopping!

Bingo!

That's why the only part of that view that caught my eye was the model. She was the only pleasing part that caught my eye. The rest was a rehash of pre-existing departmental store designs.
post #10 of 136
"Microsoft will be paying for expensive leases but won't necessarily recoup its investment through actual sales."


How can Microsoft possibly afford to do that? Oh, I forgot, their products are way overpriced.
post #11 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by grebo View Post

Traitor!

MORE COPY COPY COPY!!!!!
ITS TIME FOR APPLE TO HAVE EMPLOYEES SIGN A TEN YEAR NON COMPETE!-or you don't work there. And make them retro active for the past decade!!! I'm sure Bill's father can be hired to do that, since they no longer represent our sworn enemy!!!

What's next? This deserves capitol punishment. If they shot the guy who tried to stop Hitler, this Blankenshit should go to! Bang Bang! No more George!
post #12 of 136
delete

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #13 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

This success is likely to have prompted Microsoft's request for help and virtually confirms that Microsoft primarily intends to shadow Apple's approach when possible. The Windows manufacturer's COO Kevin Turner has already said that its upcoming stores will be located close to Apple's when possible. He has previously vowed that Microsoft wouldn't imitate the actual in-store experience but would "innovate" in the long run. Its own Retail Experience Center test mule near its campus has provided an early look at its plans and includes demo PCs that present an ideal view of Microsoft's product integration, such as Windows PCs set up for media editing.

Oxymoron - MS to "shadow" Apple, but won't imitate Apple, but rather "innovate". Since when has this been the case? Are there any MS fanboys out there that can tell me of the last MS commercial product or service that was a wildly, huge, popular commercial success to the betterment of people all over the globe? That is a serious question. I'd really like to know. Thanks.

Quote:
A leak accompanying this previous news hints that Blankenship's experience at Apple may not rub off on the rest of Microsoft's retail plans, however. Although the stores may sit near Apple's in the future, they're poised to largely be showcases meant to advertise the Windows, Xbox and Zune brands and less to actually sell products. As such, Microsoft will be paying for expensive leases but won't necessarily recoup its investment through actual sales.

A store that is a showcase rather than selling? What?! How idiotic!!! Anyway, without the innovation of Apple, Ninetendo or Sony, I doubt that the Windows, Xbox and Zune brands would be anywhere near the products that they are of today, even if existing at all!

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #14 of 136
Traitor!

BTW... MS is just telling everyone, once again, that Apple is the leader and that MS is just following on something they don't even understand.
post #15 of 136
It seems to me the only thing novel about what they are doing is the location: directly adjacent to Apple stores. The only way to make a store viable in such expensive real estate is a boutique style with great employees - two things MS will fail to do. The PC world just does not inspire the right kind of people to give a boutique experience. Concept and execution are two different things. I'm not impressed that a former Apple exec is doing this - he knows the limitations, but will soldier on for a huge salary. What will hurt MS is when the numbers are dribbling in and the stores are closing - it will be a huge PR nightmare.
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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post #16 of 136
It does not matter what Microsoft does or who they hire, they will still be Microsoft. They consume and destroy. Even when they hire Apple employees and execs they still get it wrong because everything has to go through bland Microsoft execs, not the artistic visionaries at Apple. Everything Microsoft creates emulates its former CEO (Bill Gates), no personality, bland, tasteless, unimaginative, etc.

As for Microsoft innovating, that is laughable, they can't even emulate properly [Zune]. Microsoft is always trying to tell us that they innovate instead of emulate. If this isn't emulation, I don't know what is. Microsoft stores intentionally placed near Apple stores, former apple exec hired to design stores. Yeah they totally don't copy Apple. Once again, ZERO personality.
post #17 of 136
Doesn't Apple have non-compete agreements with former execs?

Maybe they should fire the existing legal team and hire IBM's......... \
post #18 of 136
Oh so what. No matter what MS stores will never be much more than a glorified Office Depot. Apple has NOTHING to fear from this. If anything, these stores will drive business to Apple.
post #19 of 136
Shows just how much the industry needs Apple.

No surprise, though.
post #20 of 136
They could have saved themselves a (probably) large salary.

If all they're going to do is open stores near Apple stores, that doesn't take much brainpower from the consultant... and the usual amount of 'innovation' from Microsoft.

And yes, that will be SO appealing to 1980s-looking female customers, the thought of pushing a shopping cart around what looks to be Staples. Seriously, who folds the cuffs of bell bottoms???
post #21 of 136
I'd love to see an 'enhanced' version of the included image, with a homeless guy pushing his loaded Ghettebago in the general direction of the bathroom. After a refreshing sink-bath he can pay for a copy of Windows Homeless Edition using a large bag of aluminum cans.
post #22 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

It seems to me the only thing novel about what they are doing is the location: directly adjacent to Apple stores. The only way to make a store viable in such expensive real estate is a boutique style with great employees - two things MS will fail to do. The PC world just does not inspire the right kind of people to give a boutique experience. Concept and execution are two different things. I'm not impressed that a former Apple exec is doing this - he knows the limitations, but will soldier on for a huge salary. What will hurt MS is when the numbers are dribbling in and the stores are closing - it will be a huge PR nightmare.

This is one of the first things I thought also.

Apple puts their stores in those locations because that's where their customers "live and play." Microsoft's customers are not the same customers. MS would be better off having a store in a mall with large X-Box displays to bring in the kids, putting them in the fashion district is just dumb.

Also, the success of Apple's stores only has a tiny bit to do with the location. There are much more important factors at work. And even if they duplicate everything that Apple does and do it successfully, they will still fail because their actual product (what they have of it), doesn't measure up to Apple's.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #23 of 136
Since the emergence of PC video screens being mounted vertically and used to display flight information at airports, I've chuckled on several occasions when I've seen the display boards showing the Blue Screen Of Death.

Just think, Microsoft is going to give us a whole store to display that.....should be lovely!
post #24 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Burn him

You guys are nuts!

It's ok for Apple to get executives from other companies, but not for them to get Apple's?

Where do you think companies get executives from? No one hires out of school for top people.
post #25 of 136
Exactly how big of a store do you need to sell what they have?
They got......and OS CD and a Office CD and a Mp3 player.
I think it's a dum. Maybe Apple planted George to screw um up. Haha
Wouldn't that be rich!
post #26 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Bingo!

That's why the only part of that view that caught my eye was the model. She was the only pleasing part that caught my eye. The rest was a rehash of pre-existing departmental store designs.

It's not likely that the store will look like that. As they won't be selling anything, they won't have shelves stocked with multiple copies of goods, and they certainly won't need shopping carts to fill with those nonexistent goods that aren't for sale.
post #27 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It's not likely that the store will look like that. As they won't be selling anything, they won't have shelves stocked with multiple copies of goods, and they certainly won't need shopping carts to fill with those nonexistent goods that aren't for sale.

You are a moderator put "in charge" of this forum for a reason.

Microsoft sells their OS and Server software to the World's Banks, Governments, Businesses and consumer users.

Their software alone is reason enough to have a store.

To say Microsoft has "NONEXISTENT" Goods is like saying Apple has 2 laptops, 1 desktop unit, 3 phones & a music player.

Be a LOT more responsible when monitoring the room. This is the main reason that Apple users HATE Microsoft USERS and the same in reverse.

If Apple that much better than Microsoft than why after 30 years do they have 8% of the computer desktop arena (in the USA ONLY). World Wide Apple isn't even on the charts.

Edit.
Any Apple Sheep in here own an XBOX?
Any of you have a virtual desktop so you can play REAL computer games?
Any of you need to have IE run corporate Software at home?
Any of you NEED MICROSOFT OFFICE TO DO YOUR JOB?

Need an ATM? They all run Windows OS.
Need a Hospital? They all run Windows OS.
Need to check out at Best Buy, Lowes, the Grocery Store. They all run Windows.

Apples computer sales are now 35% of their total revenue. Apple now makes Phones and Music Players for 65% of their revenue.

We're going to have to move their category to gaming business by 2011.
post #28 of 136
Microsoft is in (again) for a world of hurt. Did they forget about their former "Flagship" store at the Sony Metreon in San Francisco? Even in its heyday, that store was empty for the most part even though the Metreon itself had a lot of foot traffic. I've been there a few times out of curiosity and wondered what exactly made it a Microsoft store. It was more like a cleaner version of Best-Buy or CompUSA and better faux-wood trim.

At an Apple store, at least you can buy actual products in addition to the free classes, genius bar with actual Geniuses (and not fresh-out-of-high-school-minimum-wage-kids).

The only thing I can see a genius bar equivalent at a Microsoft store will be a flood of users coming in due to their windows systems being infected, pwnd, malwared, etc. I would bet money that Microsoft would have something like that for six months only to shut it down due to high costs and bad press from infuriated users.

Good luck MS. It seems that pain is something you enjoy as you keep coming back for more.
post #29 of 136
He has previously vowed that Microsoft wouldn't imitate the actual in-store experience but would "innovate" in the long run.

Bah hah hah hah hah!!
post #30 of 136
Heh, I wonder where MS is going to open their shop here in San Francisco and how close it will be to Apple's SF flagship store. I hear the Sony may close soon, so Microsoft could open their shop where they had closed the Microsoft Store in 2001. Or, they could probably be smack dab in front of the Apple store where the Virgin Record store used to be. I would love to see what MS would do with all those four floors .
post #31 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

As they won't be selling anything, they won't have shelves stocked with multiple copies of goods.

I don't believe that for a second!

Even if they initially only want their stores to be 'showrooms', customers will eventually demand to be sold something. Who would want to enter a store and only look at things - if you actually intend to buy?

Trust me, it won't be long until they start selling things.
First it will be Microsoft software and hardware like mice and keyboards.
Then it will be favorite software or software Microsoft wants to showcase with Windows 7.
And finally third-party hardware.
Initially they might only sell it online inside the store, shipped to the client. But it won't be long before main configurations are sold in store. At least smaller hardware like phones, music players, netbooks and small laptops.
Otherwise what's the point of opening a retail store?


And I'm sure soon Microsoft will offer 'deal of the month' hardware items, deliberately targeted to counteract newly released Apple hardware where shoppers can play 'Lauren' and see how much they can save in the Microsoft store for 'the same hardware' as compared to the Apple Store next door.
I bet that this will happen.

It'll be interesting to see how Apple will react to that.


They might copy the 'Genius Bar' as well, and One-on-One training.

Benefits for Microsoft are twofold:
- more exposure and better profile
- a way to showcase the hardware products they want the industry to steer towards, either directly by making users buy certain products or indirectly by only showcasing products from hardware vendors who 'please' Microsoft.


Also consider that these new stores might be about selling digital content onto whatever hardware a customer brings in. Perhaps even iPods.
That's where Microsoft could indeed 'innovate'.

Imagine that within a Microsoft store you could try any software you like, be it Zune handheld software or PC software. It'll be downloaded straight from some MS servers on demand for customers to try.
Then if you like it you can order it via disk-on-demand burnt onto disk right there for you in store or you can buy it via download right there and then as well.
This could be the biggest AppStore ever!
And all software would be 'try before you buy'!
As I said, I can see some room for actual innovation.
Although I hope Apple will be there first.
post #32 of 136
All Apple did was take over old Gap stores in Malls and clean them up.
post #33 of 136
Quote: If Apple that much better than Microsoft than why after 30 years do they have 8% of the computer desktop arena (in the USA ONLY). World Wide Apple isn't even on the chart.

I have often shaken my head with disbelief at this one. Here is why IMHO.

Could it be that Windows users found the whole process of learning and using the PC so daunting that they don't want to go through it again with any other computer? Couple that with the myths that Apple Macs can't do this or that and the misperceptions about price and you have people hesitant to switch.

These are the reasons people I know don't want to switch. I wasn't crazy about it myself, but I was so blown away the first time I walked into the Apple store in SOHO I knew it was right for me. OSX Tiger and iLife were so far ahead of what was available in the Windoze world. And of course the iMac was so beautiful compared to a HP Pavilion!
post #34 of 136
Microsoft opening a store next to Apple is like Kia opening a dealership at Rodeo Drive.
post #35 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

Quote: ...And of course the iMac was so beautiful compared to a HP Pavilion!

92% of the US and more than that don't care if their computer is "Beautful".

They care if it get's the job done at a price they like. You have 30 years of history to prove it.

They want a computer that they can use for personal an business use.
They want a notebook they can take to work and hook up to the Network either via Ethernet or WiFi and they are connected.

You want money out of an ATM machine you need Microsoft.
post #36 of 136
They should be sure to have Microsoft Surface tables set up for children.

Sorry guys, as ridiculous as many of your find them and as much as many of you are anti-Microsoft over everything, I've played with one and I think the table is pretty neat.

It's like an oversized iPod Touch that I can set my drink on.

(*And seeing how my iPod Touch was supposedly ruined by liquids, that means something to me... ha ha!)
post #37 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

I have often shaken my head with disbelief at this one.

You will find many posts as to why Apple lost to Microsoft. The Internet is full of analyses.

My opinion is that Apple just became too greedy and elitist.
In the end what most people want is 'cheap'. Give me cheap any time over quality.
That's why Betamax lost to VHS
That's why 8-tracks lost to the compact cassette.
That's why Apple lost to PCs.
And that's why millions of US and European jobs got lost to China.

People are obsessed with 'deals' - yet unable to understand the full and long-term repercussions.
So people effectively constantly make wrong decisions. Which seem like a good idea at the time.
post #38 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhone1982 View Post

You are a moderator put "in charge" of this forum for a reason.

Microsoft sells their OS and Server software to the World's Banks, Governments, Businesses and consumer users.

Their software alone is reason enough to have a store.

To say Microsoft has "NONEXISTENT" Goods is like saying Apple has 2 laptops, 1 desktop unit, 3 phones & a music player.

Be a LOT more responsible when monitoring the room. This is the main reason that Apple users HATE Microsoft USERS and the same in reverse.

If Apple that much better than Microsoft than why after 30 years do they have 8% of the computer desktop arena (in the USA ONLY). World Wide Apple isn't even on the charts.


What are you talking about? Did you bother to read the entire article? If you had, at the end, you would have read this;

Quote:
Although the stores may sit near Apple's in the future, they're poised to largely be showcases meant to advertise the Windows, Xbox and Zune brands and less to actually sell products. As such, Microsoft will be paying for expensive leases but won't necessarily recoup its investment through actual sales.

Other articles have said that MS won't be selling anything in these "stores", that they are just to display and demonstrate products, and that they would have a hard time selecting products to sell because of all the competing interests of so many software and hardware companies they are associated with.

If you now read the post I was responding to, and my reply to it again, you will see, in light of that, why I responded the way I did.

If you wish to talk about being responsible, I suggest you start with yourself.

After you've gone over all of that, I expect an apology. I'm being nice for a moderator. Most other sites would have just kicked you off.
post #39 of 136
If he insisted that Apple place its retail stores to sell its expensive products in high end malls and locations, then to be consistent he should recommend that Microsoft position its stores next to Walmart in order to sell its bargain priced products.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #40 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhone1982 View Post

You want money out of an ATM machine you need Microsoft.

That isn't true. While a great many ATMs use Windows, there are a good number that don't. Heck, some even use Linux.
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