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Microsoft still taking Apple on head-to-head in continued retail expansion

post #1 of 134
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Microsoft continues to aggressively expand its retail presence, building new stores in close proximity to Apple's existing retail locations.

The first Microsoft Store opened in Scottsdale, Ariz., in October of 2009, attempting to replicate some of the great success Apple has had opening its own stores across the world. The Microsoft Stores borrow ideas from Apple, including a "Guru Bar" akin to Apple's Genius Bars where employees assist customers, and Microsoft even attempted to hire away some Apple retail employees for its own operations.

Since Microsoft's retail venture began in 2009, the Redmond, Wash., company has continued to quietly expand its brick-and-mortar footprint. Microsoft's official retail website advertises that 11 new stores are "coming soon" across North America.

Of those 11 stores, 10 are set to be located in malls or shopping districts in close proximity to existing Apple retail stores. The 10 new Microsoft stores set to take on Apple head-to-head in the near future are:
  • The Village at Corte Madera, Calif.
  • Christiana Mall in Newark, Dela.
  • The Florida Mall in Orlando, Fla.
  • The Shops at Prudential Center in Boston, Mass.
  • The Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, N.H.
  • Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, N.Y.
  • The Westchester in White Plains, N.Y.
  • Kenwood Towne Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, Canada
  • The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City in Arlington, Va.

Microsoft Store
Microsoft's new store at the Westchester Mall in White Plains, N.Y., is set to open soon.


In some cases, these grand openings will be accompanied by entertainment to help drum up interest and draw crowds to the events. For example, the first 1,200 people who visit the new Microsoft Store at Orlando's Florida Mall for its August 16 grand opening will receive wrist bands to see the artist Flo Rida perform two days later.

Microsoft has used this strategy across the country to hype its retail store openings. The Black Keys played a show when Microsoft opened its store in Seattle's University Village in 2011.

The upcoming 11 store openings, including its first outside the U.S. in Toronto, will represent a huge increase in Microsoft's retail presence Since 2009, the Windows maker has opened a total of 20 stores to date.

A Microsoft spokesperson told AppleInsider that those 20 stores have seen more than 13 million customers over the last three years.

"This is an opportune time for our company to connect directly with our customers and put a face on Microsoft," the spokesperson said. "Our stores are one way to do that."

Microsoft declined to share details on its retail plans going forward, but said the company is "committed to the success of our growing store network."

Microsoft 2


The company's ongoing retail push comes as Apple's own retail operations are in a transition period. Last year, Apple's head of retail, Ron Johnson, left the company to become CEO of J.C. Penney, while Apple hired John Browett as its new retail chief in January.

The hiring of Browett was panned by some pundits, who felt Apple made a mistake in bringing in an outsider to the company's operations. But Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook reportedly defended the hire in an e-mail, noting that the former Dixons CEO was the "best by far" that Apple interviewed for the position.

Apple is also in the process of expanding many of its stores across the U.S. to accommodate considerable foot traffic. The average Apple retail store is 8,400 square feet, slightly larger than the 6,000-square-foot size Apple targeted when it began its retail operations 11 years ago.

But as the number of visitors on a per-store basis has grown at an annual rate of 15.3 percent, Apple has had to rethink its strategy and move some existing stores to larger locations. Last month, Apple opened its revamped SoHo store in New York City, which was expanded with an additional 5,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by the U.S. Postal Service.
post #2 of 134
"This is an opportune time for our company to connect directly with our customers and put a face on Microsoft," the spokesperson said.

 

"For the past few decades, they've only seen the butt… and the bald."

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There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #3 of 134

The terms seem to say that 1200 people get the wristbands, confusing.  The ad looks like a Apple knockoff also, kinda shameful.

post #4 of 134

Iced tea spit all over my monitor.  Thanks, Tallest Skil.

post #5 of 134

I'd like to point out what an epic fail the M$ store is in WA. I work closely with very good retail designers, and they have a bulletin board here with stores / ideas of what NOT to do. Guess who is on that list? M$. It's funny, you go to Bellevue M$ store, which is a gigantic retail space. All they do is sell other people's items and have a few displays. It's huge! And no one is ever in there. Then across the mall in this small retail space that Apple has, it's so packed you can't even walk around.

 

M$ needs to seriously re-evaluate retail spaces. They are missing it on so many levels. From displays, to what is being sold, to space. They really need to hire a retail design firm to help them. If they have one, they need to fire them.

 

 

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The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

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post #6 of 134
This company just seems to get dumber by the minute. The real name is "The Commodity Store". Or is that "The Comedy Store"? I get confused.
post #7 of 134

Steve Bummer, Steve Bummer, king of the wild bum steer!

post #8 of 134

I'm appalled that Microsoft's signage and branding now includes pictures of smiling young people. Microsoft beats consumers down with bad software, bad user experiences. I've never seen so many white shiny teeth in advertising in my life. The SMILES are a LIE.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #9 of 134
There is something not quite right about this wording ..

"Microsoft still taking Apple on head-to-head in continued retail expansion"

I think it's the 'still taking Apple on' .... perhaps 'wanting to, or hoping to' would be better?
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #10 of 134

It must suck so badly to play the "Hey, us too!" card on everything.  I like to think that even if I were the average consumer (not someone who follows blogs and tech stuff), I'd see this as a copycat, and not be impressed.

 

Balmer has to be the worst CEO of any company right now.  I can't believe the shareholders haven't demanded his bald head yet.

post #11 of 134

REALLY,  on average,  593 "customers" per day?  REALLY?

post #12 of 134
The only story here is they are building more stores, not that they are close to Apple Stores. At this point Apple has built out so much and into the best locations that it would only be a story if MS followed Gateway's notion of a lot of cheap stores in areas no one cares about.

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post #13 of 134
i forget, which acts have performed at previous apple store openings as customer draw gimmicks?
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post #14 of 134
Irrespective of trying to establish whether it is for MSFT a good move or not (I do not think it is), they have a long way to come close to the number of Stores Apple has set up worldwide (about 400, I believe). Finding the right place, negotiating the possible spots takes a lot of time ...
post #15 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I'm appalled that Microsoft's signage and branding now includes pictures of smiling young people. Microsoft beats consumers down with bad software, bad user experiences. I've never seen so many white shiny teeth in advertising in my life. The SMILES are a LIE.

They are all being fed a specially designed drug that makes them see crap as candy.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #16 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickbaily View Post

REALLY,  on average,  593 "customers" per day?  REALLY?

Maybe they're counting people that return items ;-)

post #17 of 134

Well, it will be interesting to see the discrepancies between The Apple Store and a Microsoft store.  My local Apple Store is in the Village in Corte Madera.  Often that store is so packed with shoppers that it's claustrophobic.  This when the rest of the mall is nearly empty.    I volunteer some of my IT time helping seniors with computer purchases and support on behalf of a local Seniors Center.  Out of fairness to my senior clients, who are usually Windoze users, part of purchasing usually includes a trip to The Apple Store in The Village and a local PC outlet (Best Buy, etc.) just to ensure that all options are covered.  No matter what store order I take these clients to - the Apple Store first or the PC Store first, almost without exception a Mac is sold.  I don't even have to do any selling.  The Macs and The Apple Store 'experience' just sells itself.   The good news here is that now that the Village is getting a Microsoft Store, I'll only be making one stop before a Mac is sold.  Good luck with your new stores Microsoft.
 

post #18 of 134

The Apple store in Kenwood Town Centre in Cincy is being remodeled so they are in a smaller temporary location currently.  I was there 3 weeks ago and didn't notice the MS store going in, but I'm amused.  If it's open before the end of August when my wife and I go to King's Island to celebrate my birthday/our anniversary, I'll check it out.

post #19 of 134

Microsoft applying the Starbucks strategy of entering the market…? Opening up very close to, sometimes even right next door to, their competitors...

 

Except in Starbuck's case, their products were directly competitive AND had brand power...

 

I think of M$ today much as Apple was in the late 90s… stale, broken, and dying… even with the recent "reinventions"; Win 8, Metro, Surface, retail stores that mimic Apple Stores… it still just feels like lipstick on a pig.

 

They need real product innovation, a massive revamp of their brand, what it stands for, how they build it...

 

Steve Ballmer isn't the one to take them there. Ousting him is so overdue… he's been killing them softly for almost ten years… 

 

I wish M$ well… hopefully they'll find a new niche and create something actually worth going all "monkey boy" on the stage about.


Edited by tribalogical - 8/2/12 at 8:27am
post #20 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post

i forget, which acts have performed at previous apple store openings as customer draw gimmicks?

please, not the dreaded line dancing!

post #21 of 134

What does MS sell in their stores besides XBOX/Kinect and Windows 7 boxes??? I'm literally embarrassed for Microsoft these days. Apple doesn't even sell software titles much anymore, except in its Mac App Store.

 

Everything rides on the success of Windows 8, which many consumer, developers, and OEM's dislike with a passion. Let's see that Surface tablet. Maybe Ballmer can fake some enthusiasm next time he does a demo.

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post #22 of 134

Microsoft just move from one embarrassment to another.

 

Always good for a chuckle though.

post #23 of 134

I hadn't played around with WIndows 7, since I haven't even touched a Windows computer in several years.  I don't know what the Windows users are thinking, but that was the just the most horrific experience I had in a long time.  I helping a friend "fix" their laptop.  It just gave me one more reason to stick with Apple.  And the owner of the laptop wants to replace it with an Apple.

 

Microsoft can put up all the retail stores in the world, it's not going to change the fact that WIndows is just a COMPLETE bad OS.  It's just not friendly at all.  It's like a bunch of computer geeks trying to figure out can they can confuse the user as much as possible.  It's just a joke.

 

There were a couple of small features I thought were cool, but the rest of the OS, is junk.

 

Wow, M$ is going to add 11 retail stores?  REALLY?  Well, by the time they get 11 more stores, Apple will also have more stores. At the rate M$ is adding stores, it will take them 40 years to catch up.

 

Yeah, 40 years?  That sounds about right.

post #24 of 134

Zune?

Microsoft's new store at the Westchester Mall in White Plains, N.Y., is set to open soon ... With Zune!!!

 

700

post #25 of 134

Do the Microsoft stores sell the Mac version of Office?

post #26 of 134

The Microsoft Store in the mall closest to me is always dead. The Apple Store in the same mall is packed as hell at all hours.

LOL people should just enjoy whatever phone they prefer and stop being d-bags about other phones they don't use. Fanboys are pathetic, regardless of whether they are Android or Apple ones.
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LOL people should just enjoy whatever phone they prefer and stop being d-bags about other phones they don't use. Fanboys are pathetic, regardless of whether they are Android or Apple ones.
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post #27 of 134
Pouring money into stores that no one is visiting - just to copy Apple - doesn't seem smart. I have been to an MS store in a popular mall in LA and it was empty except for a couple of employees walking around and a couple of employees obviously forced to play with the XBOX Kinect near the front window to attract customers.

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Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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post #28 of 134

Only a company incapable of embarrassment could do this.

post #29 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

There is something not quite right about this wording ..
"Microsoft still taking Apple on head-to-head in continued retail expansion"
I think it's the 'still taking Apple on' .... perhaps 'wanting to, or hoping to' would be better?

Agreed!  Lets see Microsoft had 13 million visitors over three years.  Apple had 813 million visitor last quarter.  Even if you just took 20 of Apples stores to compare.  17000 visitors per store, per week times 20 stores for three years is 43 million visitors. Keep in mind Apple has 372 stores.  

 
 
post #30 of 134

This seems to be the strategy MS used in the Xbox release... release a product, market the product, market the marketing, absorb huge losses until it's making money, and ignore the sunk costs, and claim victory.

 

All in all, the MS store is like the 'Surface'  It's a 'reference platform' for MS to shove in front of it's partners, and say "This is how we want our stuff marketed... if you can't do this, we'll take over your spot in the MS food chain."  Problem is... MS working the ends (delivery to consumer/ OS and requirements engineering), and ignoring the middle (UX engineering [apple would hate that term], HW/SW integration, end to end experience, HW/SW support, online store, integration of retail to user experience (my appleID and my storeID are the same), etc etc.

 

MS is selling product by maximizing expertise in experience.   

 

MS selling Dell or Samsung hardware no better than BestBuy.   Once you get to a problem, MS doesn't own it.  Dell, HP, Nvidia, Sony own the problem.

 

Hence, the MS store is a walk in experience marketing campaign.   The problem is, MS only controls about 20% of the experience.

 

Apple is selling experience, by maximizing expertise in the product.   Any problem with your Mac or iPhone, is pretty much Apple's (or yours) to solve, because they are the ones who specced every piece and shipped it to you.

 

 

 

MS' key mistake, is that they think people want a product.    No.  People want experience, preferably one that is enjoyable, and 'gets the job done'.   The concept of "Windows Ready" or "Intel Inside" have been replaced with a single silver Apple logo, like a Mercedes or BMW logo...  MS thinks people wants Windows (Windows EVERYWHERE), no people want a device that solves a problem for them... it's the difference between a hammer, a nail and some wood, and a finished picture frame.  

 

the MS store is antithetical to how MS's DNA runs... They supply SW to others and others do stuff with it (OEM's, corporations)  The store is to sell solutions.  but as I said, in MS's business model, they don't own the solution, therefore in the end, they can't sell solutions... they sell product.  And like BestBuy, they will fail.

post #31 of 134
Head-to-head competition is more likely to help Apple than Microsoft, since Apple's products are better, and Microsoft is bringing Windows users within sight of Apple stores. Go figure.
post #32 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post

Do the Microsoft stores sell the Mac version of Office?

 

No, they don't really sell much of anything in their stores. Its basically like a big advertisement for Microsoft products and 3rd party PCs. At least, this is how I felt at the Microsoft Store inside Tyson's Corner in VA. 

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post #33 of 134
Good call on the count genovelle. Over the past three years, you are comparing a total visitor registry for M/soft of 13 million, to a three year Apple visitor registry of 1,245,816,000 or 1.245 billion. Any further analysis of this disparity only deepens the embarrassing nature of the Microsoft Store concept and delivery.

Once again Mr. Ballmer demonstrates that ihe s fixated to the detriment of his company on Apple.

Neil, can you really call this "head to head" when the numbers are so badly unbalanced?
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post #34 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuddyRevell View Post

The Microsoft Store in the mall closest to me is always dead. The Apple Store in the same mall is packed as hell at all hours.

That's my experience too. I was in Tampa last week for an Apple Care covered battery replacement from my 2010 MBP and it was literally packed. Yet in the hour I sat there everyone was happy, smiling and the atmosphere was amazing. I got into conversations with several folk around me while waiting for my turn and several were switchers who couldn't stop from gushing about how much they loved the whole Apple experience.

I would love to listen to the conversation in the Windows Store .... "You thinking of switching?" ... "Hell yes!" /smile
Edited by digitalclips - 8/2/12 at 9:11am
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #35 of 134

For this strategy to work, they need to make more of their own stuff.

In other words, do what Apple is doing.

post #36 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

"For the past few decades, they've only seen the butt… and the bald."

 

"The Butt and the Bald"... sounds like a good name for a TV series.

 

... maybe they could get Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfield...


Edited by Dick Applebaum - 8/2/12 at 9:09am
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post #37 of 134

Didn't Burger King do this?

 

McD's did extensive research about where to locate their restaurants.

 

Burger King's business plan was just, 'build one near ever single McD's.'

post #38 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

There is something not quite right about this wording ..
"Microsoft still taking Apple on head-to-head in continued retail expansion"
I think it's the 'still taking Apple on' .... perhaps 'wanting to, or hoping to' would be better?

I agree.  The term "head-to-head" suggests that Microsoft is almost equal to Apple with its retail presence.  20 Microsoft Stores to Apple's 363 Stores does not even come close to "head-to-head".

post #39 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

This seems to be the strategy MS used in the Xbox release... release a product, market the product, market the marketing, absorb huge losses until it's making money, and ignore the sunk costs, and claim victory.

 

All in all, the MS store is like the 'Surface'  It's a 'reference platform' for MS to shove in front of it's partners, and say "This is how we want our stuff marketed... if you can't do this, we'll take over your spot in the MS food chain."  Problem is... MS working the ends (delivery to consumer/ OS and requirements engineering), and ignoring the middle (UX engineering [apple would hate that term], HW/SW integration, end to end experience, HW/SW support, online store, integration of retail to user experience (my appleID and my storeID are the same), etc etc.

 

MS is selling product by maximizing expertise in experience.   

 

MS selling Dell or Samsung hardware no better than BestBuy.   Once you get to a problem, MS doesn't own it.  Dell, HP, Nvidia, Sony own the problem.

 

Hence, the MS store is a walk in experience marketing campaign.   The problem is, MS only controls about 20% of the experience.

 

Apple is selling experience, by maximizing expertise in the product.   Any problem with your Mac or iPhone, is pretty much Apple's (or yours) to solve, because they are the ones who specced every piece and shipped it to you.

 

 

 

MS' key mistake, is that they think people want a product.    No.  People want experience, preferably one that is enjoyable, and 'gets the job done'.   The concept of "Windows Ready" or "Intel Inside" have been replaced with a single silver Apple logo, like a Mercedes or BMW logo...  MS thinks people wants Windows (Windows EVERYWHERE), no people want a device that solves a problem for them... it's the difference between a hammer, a nail and some wood, and a finished picture frame.  

 

the MS store is antithetical to how MS's DNA runs... They supply SW to others and others do stuff with it (OEM's, corporations)  The store is to sell solutions.  but as I said, in MS's business model, they don't own the solution, therefore in the end, they can't sell solutions... they sell product.  And like BestBuy, they will fail.

 

Very well said!

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"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #40 of 134
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post
"The Butt and the Bald"... sounds like a good name for a TV series.

 

1000

 

Tagline: "Daytime soaps have never stooped so low."

 

Click for larger, since Huddler… 

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
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