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Microsoft plans to counter Apple by building 75 retail stores in 2-3 years

post #1 of 114
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Microsoft plans to massively expand its retail presence in the U.S. in the next 2 to 3 years, with an aggressive goal of 75 new stores to take on Apple's own retail operations.

The plans are said to be part of the company's effort to expand the "Microsoft story," according to a report Wednesday from Neowin. An accompanying map shows clusters of stores in California, Texas, Florida and the Northeast.

Microsoft gave a presentation at its Worldwide Partner Conference on Wednesday. Currently, the Redmond, Wash., software giant has a total of 11 stores across America, mostly in California, with a new one that just opened in Los Angeles.

"Also shown off during this presentation was that an Apple retailer in Latin America was showing off Apple hardware running Windows 7," the report said. "Microsoft used this to poke fun that Apple makes fantastic hardware but their OS is still behind Windows 7."

Microsoft first announced in early 2009 that the company planned to open new retail stores, in an approach that mimics Apple's own wildly successful retail operations. The company pushed hard with viral marketing buzz, and even poached employees from Apple's retail operations with the promise of pay raises and compensation for moving expenses.



In one instance detailed by AppleInsider, Microsoft was able to court an Apple retail market manager who had recently left the company. That person said they were offered a pay raise and were then allegedly asked to contact employees they had previously worked with at Apple in an effort to recruit them.

Little has been said of Microsoft's retail operations since their debut in 2009, but Wednesday's latest development indicates that the company has high hopes for the future of its brick-and-mortar ventures. The news comes as it was revealed that Apple single-handedly accounted for one fifth of all sales growth by publicly traded American retailers during the first three months of 2011.
post #2 of 114
A good move. Microsoft is making the best products they ever have right now and I think the only thing that's holding them back is exposure.

If they can get people into the store and using Windows Phone 7 there's no reason why it can't start gaining the marketshare it deserves. Maybe it will also be easier when the new Xbox 360 UI is released that is similar to Windows Phone 7.
post #3 of 114
Now, 75 is too much, but 324, last time I checked, is a lot more than 75

/sarcasm
post #4 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Microsoft plans to massively expand its retail presence to take in the U.S. in the next 2 to 3 years, with an aggressive goal of 75 new stores to take on Apple's own retail operations. ...

This sounds absolutely suicidal.

It's like one of those wacky nonsensical moves that a CEO sometimes makes in desperation just before they are fired and the newer, more reasonable CEO takes over.

Apple stores sell tons of product and make more money per linear foot of shelf space than almost any other type of store. MS's stores don't even break even. Suicide.

Is it time to use the "beleaguered" word yet?
post #5 of 114
Microsoft is attempting to show us what "life without walls" is like by...building more walls.

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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post #6 of 114
The correct headline should be: "Microsoft dreams of plans to counter Apple by wasting money on 75 retail stores in 2-3 years."
post #7 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

A good move. Microsoft is making the best products they ever have right now and I think the only thing that's holding them back is exposure. ...

Riiiiiight.

The biggest problem Microsoft has is that no one has heard of them and their "Windows" product.
post #8 of 114
The real headline here is that Microsoft has apparently already moved Lone Tree, Colorado into northern Wyoming. That's really impressive (and was probably much more expensive than building 75 more stores will be).
post #9 of 114
BREAKING: Microsoft has not yet settled on branding for the genius bar area but is considering both "Control Alt Delete" and "Blue Screen of Death."
post #10 of 114
I have serious fears for Microsoft expanding retail endeavors when they don't even know where their current stores are geographically. For instance, on the graphic, the Colorado store pin is located in Wyoming.
When a company stops chasing profit and start chasing the betterment of their products, services, workforce, and customers, that will be the most valuable company in the world.
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When a company stops chasing profit and start chasing the betterment of their products, services, workforce, and customers, that will be the most valuable company in the world.
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post #11 of 114
If they keep their vomit green color I will never go in.
post #12 of 114
MeToSoft innovates again!
post #13 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

Microsoft is attempting to show us what "life without walls" is like by...building more walls.

In a world without walls, who needs Windows?
post #14 of 114
I'm not sure I follow the reasoning that OS X is "still behind" Windows 7 just because Apple's hard ware can run both operating systems. That doesn't make any sense.

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply
post #15 of 114
I’d really love to see genuine stats on whether or not Microsoft has made any profit from the stores they’ve already opened - above the cost of building and operating them. Of course, that can be a tricky thing to figure out how to measure, so I’d settle for knowing how much revenue the average store brings in, to compare it to the average for an Apple store.

From all the (admittedly anecdotal) information I’ve seen on the MS Stores, they are typically ghost towns when compared to the neighboring Apple store, which most, if not all, surprisingly seem to have.

Also, the wording on that map indicates that someone at MS has a poor grasp on grammar. ‘We will accelerate our stores!’ Really? What speed will you accelerate them to? Try to make sure not to run any of them into something valuable.
post #16 of 114
Mall rents are down.
Cubist
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Cubist
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post #17 of 114
So... as Apple moves to sell software exclusively online, Microsoft is moving to open brick and mortar retail stores?

Yes, I know that Microsoft sells mice, keyboards, and game consoles. So they do have some hardware. But is that enough to base a store on?
post #18 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

BREAKING: Microsoft has not yet settled on branding for the genius bar area but is considering both "Control Alt Delete" and "Blue Screen of Death."

I was thinking about the Genius Bar as well. What will they do when they have irate customers show up at the store? Are they going to service their existing Windows etc. customers through the channel. Sounds like a poorly devised plan by a desperate CEO to me!
post #19 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

BREAKING: Microsoft has not yet settled on branding for the genius bar area but is considering both "Control Alt Delete" and "Blue Screen of Death."

Well, they'll be able to blow through like 100 customers an hour because they will tell each one the same thing... "Nope, that's a hardware problem... NEXT!"

Seriously though, what does Microsoft actually sell? Xboxs, Mice, and software. Apple at least has dozens of real tangible products, that they create and sell directly. What is going to be in a Microsoft store, rows and rows of software boxes?



When the Apple store launched a decade ago, Apple REALLY needed a venue to sell its products in a way they could control from top to bottom. Microsoft was EVERYWHERE and Apple was nowhere.

But mom, it's not fair, when is Kids day????

EVERY DAY IS KIDS DAY!

Wah, where is my Microsoft store?

EVERY STORE IS A MICROSOFT STORE...
post #20 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Riiiiiight.

The biggest problem Microsoft has is that no one has heard of them and their "Windows" product.

The problem is that they've heard but not seen. They hear Windows Phone 7 and imagine that it's windows on a phone, so naturally they never even ask to see one. The sales staff, having learnt that customers aren't interested, take the WP7 phones off display and stick them under the counter, with the WoW game cards and the hard core porn.

WP7 is pretty much exactly what a MS smartphone system should look like, it's attractive and technically interesting. It's differentiated from Apple but it's still clean and modern. But none of it matters if consumers imagine it looks like windows 3.1 in your hand.

Saying all that though I don't expect this to be a huge help for MS. Nobody goes into the Nokia shop in London, in fact I'm not sure it's even still there. The Sony Stores are mostly deserted. MS has even less to offer as a consumer destination.
post #21 of 114
Gateway stores here in Dallas: Gone.

Dell stores here in Dallas: Gone.

What makes Microsoft think they will succeed where Gateway and Dell failed? Opening stores across from Apple stores does not help them either. Apple has the retail thing down.

In the Northpark mall in Dallas, there was a Dell store across from the Apple store. The largest number of customers I saw in the Dell store was 3. Yes, three. The Apple store is ALWAYS standing-room-only. It's about the retail experience, and from what I've seen of the Microsoft stores, they don't understand it yet. Even with a former Apple employee, I seriously doubt they'll be able to duplicate the "cool" factor the Apple stores have.
post #22 of 114
I'm guessing that the walls of these new stores will incorporate the "Blue screen of death" colour scheme?
post #23 of 114
I think both Dell and Gateway tried this approach ... how did that turn out for them?

I've been into the Microsoft Stores in San Diego and Orange County ... you can definitely tell they hired the same interior designer who did the Apple Stores. It's rather obvious who it is they are trying to imitate (and "imitate" really is the best word to describe it). They are kind of nice, because you can play around with a few cool gadgets, but, for the most part, the general impression I got from both stores was they were trying to convince everyone they were cool, and that you wanted to buy their products. The main difference between that approach and the Apple Store is when you go into an Apple Store you don't really need anyone to convince you about how cool the product is ... the hands on experience sells the product. The employees are really there to answer any questions you might have, and to help you buy something (barring the Genius Bar). At the Microsoft Store all the employees went overboard trying to sell products, and give you reasons why you 1) shouldn't want to buy an Apple product, and 2) why their product was so much cooler and more awesome. It just comes off as desperate ... at least that was the distinct impression I got from both stores (on multiple visits spanning several months).

The idea that you can somehow copy a successful store/product by simply slapping a different logo on it, and using different colors is sophomoric. I mean it's like Hyundai trying to make their cars look like a Mercedes-Benz ... sure they do look cool, because they copied the design aesthetics of a precision engineered luxury vehicle, but the second you step in one and drive it around the difference is immediately apparently and impossible to deny. That doesn't mean Hyundai (or Microsoft) doesn't make a good product, but when you try to pass your product off as a better built and more desirable product from another company the user is usually going to get disappointed -- especially if they're expecting it to mimic the experience of the more desirable product.

I think Steve Jobs was correct when he said (over ten years ago) "we have to forget this idea that for Apple to succeed Microsoft has to fail." Since then Apple has side stepped Microsoft (and conventional wisdom) and created entirely new markets which it dominates. Microsoft, however, still seems trapped in an early 90's mentality of "flood the market with similar product at a cheaper price (even if quality is sacrificed) to destroy the competition." That approach just doesn't work very well any more ... beside the fact I think Microsoft is spending too much time and energy fighting Apple when they should be worried about Google.

Flood the market with 75 mediocre stores that sell mostly mediocre products and you can join Dell and Gateway at the "we expanded too fast, and then the bubble burst" party.
post #24 of 114
\

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronD12 View Post

Gateway stores here in Dallas: Gone.

Dell stores here in Dallas: Gone.

I also remember the Gateway Stores ("Moooo!!") when they were around... and the dweebs that staffed them were way less than knowledgeable or helpful... they just wanted to sell you a box and get you out the door. Pffft!!

And the Dell kiosks? Ha! They were a joke... and my local Apple Store had a Dell "Kick the Tires/Shit" kiosk not 25 feet from the Apple Store entrance. They were gone in about 2 years!

And now Microshaft wants to do the same thing? With a Brick n' Mortar store? ARE THEY NUTS?!?!?

Sounds like the ol' lessons of history were lost on them! Go back and get schooled, you boys of Redmond!
post #25 of 114
I can't make up my mind whether to feel sorry for Steve Barmy, "captain of the sinking ship Microsoft" or to admire his fighting spirit in spite of all odds. When i saw the way he pranced about on stage, punching the air, shrieking voice, but with an almost desperate look on his face I knew that he knew he's losing the battle.
post #26 of 114
Apple has the "Halo" effect because of Microsoft's "Horns-n-Pitchfork" effect... and MS wants to expand this?!
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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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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 #27 of 114
Quote:
The plans are said to be part of the company's effort to expand the "Microsoft story,"

Yeah.. it is a wonderful story
post #28 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by blursd View Post

I think both Dell and Gateway tried this approach ... how did that turn out for them?

I guess it just proves that it's not the stores themselves, BUT what's in the stores!
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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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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 #29 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

A good move. Microsoft is making the best products they ever have right now and I think the only thing that's holding them back is exposure.

If they can get people into the store and using Windows Phone 7 there's no reason why it can't start gaining the marketshare it deserves. Maybe it will also be easier when the new Xbox 360 UI is released that is similar to Windows Phone 7.


"Making the best products they ever have right now"? That's not saying much is it?
post #30 of 114
snark aside, the real question is whether the MS Stores technical specialists really provide useful help to Windows users. that is the one really valuable customer service that is worth opening a store for, and so will help MS compete with Apple.

ive never seen a real life report about this. does anyone know?

unlike Apple stores, no one is going to actually buy much at an MS store. everything there is priced at list (except for featured sales items), and you can get it much cheaper at Best Buy or on line.

Apple of course does not discount anything, and you cant save much on line (except sales tax maybe). so you might as well go to the store and carry it home.

and related to that, the huge advantage of Apple stores that MS can never match is on the spot warranty service. thats HUGE when something craps out. and sooner or later, something always does.
post #31 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by 80025 View Post

"Making the best products they ever have right now"? That's not saying much is it?

No, but there's still a beautiful symmetry to the fact that once they could force any old crap down the consumer's throat if it had Windows on it ( Windows ME for example ), whereas now they can't even shift something halfway decent because the association is so bad.
post #32 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Yeah.. it is a wonderful story

A Love Story it's not!

Scrub video to 1:15 for a laugh at oneself moment...
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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.

Reply

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 #33 of 114
Someone should inform Microsoft's marketing team of the difference between Colorado and Wyoming.
post #34 of 114
2 da rescue!
post #35 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by JPDLVMH View Post

I can't make up my mind whether to feel sorry for Steve Barmy, "captain of the sinking ship Microsoft" or to admire his fighting spirit in spite of all odds. When i saw the way he pranced about on stage, punching the air, shrieking voice, but with an almost desperate look on his face I knew that he knew he's losing the battle.

"Captain of the sinking ship Microsoft"? That's perfect. So these proposed new stores are what, like "Rearranging deck chairs on a ship that's going down"?
post #36 of 114
Seems like a total waste of money for Microsoft.
post #37 of 114
This is one of the most idiotic things I've heard. I've never been to a Microsoft Store that wasn't almost completely empty. Yet they want to build a bunch of new ones..why? Because Apple has done it? Because it will magically make the stores more popular? Every single Apple store I've been to has almost ALWAYS been PACKED- no matter what time of the day, week, month, or year. That's why they're expanding. This reeks of me too syndrome.
post #38 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwilson811 View Post

I was thinking about the Genius Bar as well. What will they do when they have irate customers show up at the store? Are they going to service their existing Windows etc. customers through the channel. Sounds like a poorly devised plan by a desperate CEO to me!

No they will have a Go To Bar and all they will do is point you back to the manufacturer of the computer. "Oh you have a Dell, you have to talk them" or they will use the classic line "it's a hardware problem, go back to the manufacturer". All the while aggravation will climb to an all time high and more and more people will be switching to the Mac.
post #39 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattgwyther View Post

Someone should inform Microsoft's marketing team of the difference between Colorado and Wyoming.

This is what can happen when you use Bing for geolocation data.
post #40 of 114
What a big egghead! I hope Microsoft never fires this guy.




Windows 8, copy the notes.
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