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Microsoft calling up Gurus to take on Apple's Geniuses

post #1 of 75
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As part of its efforts to shore up Windows Vista's battered reputation, Microsoft has revealed plans for retail helpers that bear a strong resemblance to Apple's Genius Bar staff.

Although they won't be fixing existing users' computers, the new staff will have the same ability as Apple's Genius Bar and Specialists to address questions customers might have about PCs they buy or to demonstrate the integration between Vista and Microsoft's other products, such as Windows Mobile or its Windows Live suite of dedicated and web apps.

Microsoft's general manager of corporate communications, Tom Pilla, likens the strategy to "borrowing a page from Nordstrom" in providing high-end customer service, though the connection the company actually intends to make is clearer through its choice of names for these new staff: Microsoft Gurus.

With no immediate plans for stores of its own, however, Microsoft will rely on representatives closer to Apple's store-within-a-store projects at Best Buy and other key stores. About 155 Gurus will be ready at Best Buy and Circuit City stores in the US before the end of the year.

None of these staffers will be rewarded with commission pay and will instead be judged on their ability to "translate" technology for customers, Pilla says. It's not known whether this will quickly lead to a full-scale deployment if the trial is worthwhile for Microsoft.

The push into direct retail representation is considered part of Microsoft's $300 million strategy to counter Apple's "Get a Mac" ads and, like the Redmond, Washington-based developer's ads associated with the campaign, is there chiefly to get Windows at the forefront of the home PC user's consciousness instead of Macs.

News of the retail push also follows just a day after Microsoft began running the first of its highly touted ads featuring both Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, which reveals a non-confrontational approach to matching Apple's own duo of John Hodgman and Justin Long: the 1:30 routine only mentions computing towards the very end and includes just a single Windows logo as a sign of Microsoft's plans. A stream of the ad is available below.



post #2 of 75
Will MS ever have an original idea?
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post #3 of 75
Are we really shocked that Microsoft is going to do this GURU thing? I'm not...

As for the Microsoft ad with Seinfeld and Gates, it is what it is. It's a commercial about two guys past their prime. They both have funny (strange) quirks about them. I don't think they are trying to appeal to the younger crowd, I think they are trying to appeal to that 30+ crowd. I thought it was kind of funny, but it didn't make sense.

I heard Apple Gazette's rant today and he kept saying, "The kids aren't going to find this cool", but I don't think the idea is to make Microsoft look cool. I think it's trying to make Microsoft look human or normal.

People said the burger king ads were weird too, but their marketing has been very successful. I'm sure they didn't air their best one first. For $300 Million, we're going to be seeing more than one.

I think the commercial is getting more attention because it didn't come back to bash Apple and we're all confused about it.
post #4 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Will MS ever have an original idea?

They have had one, remember Bob?
post #5 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Will MS ever have an original idea?

No, they won't. They can't even come up with anything better than a spin off of the name of Apple ideas. (Web clips to Web snippits, Widgets to Gadgets, App store to Skymarket, Apple Genius to Microsoft Guru, etc. etc..)
post #6 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Will MS ever have an original idea?

On a unrelated note, Microsoft plans to open "Skymarket" for WM7 in 2009, which will integrate both Apple's App Store and United Airlines SkyMall (at least, it sounds like that)
post #7 of 75
This means they are going to rely on spiritualism for their repairs. When does the technical come into play?
Aren't they using the same thing when installing Vista already.
post #8 of 75
I think steve jobs once said "those who can't innovate, imitate"
post #9 of 75
The Apple genius bar just has to deal with hardware issues and software issues that compared to Windows is much easier to deal with since most of it is a closed ecosystem.

Windows on the other hand has issues that encompass more than one particular area and their "genius" will have to deal with viruses, spamware, malware, drivers, etc. that will make any Windows-genius job much harder and it never really be a 100% forward-looking solution.

I pity the people that take on that kind of support.

My 9-to-5 job is administrating a Windows ecosystem. Been doing that for 20 years. After which, I got fed up with the constant hand-holding of an inherently bad OS design and bought my first Apple a couple years ago. Never looked back since. I now use it in the office, at home, and on a corporate-level, we're slowly migrating to Apple machines.
post #10 of 75
I love CP+B. Infact, it's my goal when I graduate college to work for them.

But that commercial is a disappointment. What they've done for VW, Burger King, and Apple is amazing. But this? It's nothing special or eye catching.

Maybe Apple secretly paid CP+B to do a subpar ad campaign for Microsoft?
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post #11 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Microsoft will rely on representatives closer to Apple's store-within-a-store projects at Best Buy and other key stores. About 155 Gurus will be ready at Best Buy and Circuit City stores in the US before the end of the year.

Allright. Did anyone else wonder how the Apple specialists and Microsoft "Gurus" are going to interact in the Best Buy stores? Arn't some of the folks placed in the Apple "stores within a store" supposed to be Apple employees?

I imagine the two camps building forts, laying seige and making alliances with the other departments...
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post #12 of 75
What's next MS? Building your own PC?!

MS TV ad reminded me of eTrade 1999 Super Bowl ad when they had money, look at them now struggling to survive. They are basically the same except that MS wasted $10 mil instead of $2 mil.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnQMq5wtZcg
post #13 of 75

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post #14 of 75
That was a really bad commercial. Is it just me? That was really bad. I like Jerry Sienfeild. He was good. But the chemistry wasn't there. It was... I don't know. Yeech. I was gonna say Ewww. But it's more Yeech. Yes, very yeechy. Not gonna work.
post #15 of 75
Insidious

The commercials are going to be like a serialized story. First they get you to drop your guard.

Bill Gates is shown to be just another simple guy who shops for discount shoes, who is very understated and unassuming.

Seinfeld lavishes praise upon his magnificent genius, which rolls right off the back of Gates, because he's so modest.

Once they establish Gates' genius, and once they get you to accept him as human, they'll start showing us the magnificent future we can have, thanks to Bill.

You know, the Apple ads get a lot of flak from PC users, but they're very upfront. Mac-guy is playing a role. PC-guy is playing a role. It's fun, or it's not so fun. But there's no question about what they're doing. This new Microsoft thing is sliding in a direction of history-engineering that's very troubling, and very creepy.
post #16 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by CandTsmac View Post

They have had one, remember Bob?

Just remember, not all "Bobs" are MS Tools.
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post #17 of 75
No, but don't you all see??? They are not copying Apple, they have insightfully adopted a successful customer service strategy from a totally different industry (retail apparel), and are innovatively implementing it in the personal computer 'space'. It is pure genius (no pun intended.)

What does this have to do with copying Apple? Didn't you read the press release? Nordstrom's is their inspiration, not Apple!
post #18 of 75
It's a funny ad; I'm only buying Conquistadors from now on!
post #19 of 75
lame. good luck with that. best of luck with the tv ad campaign too.

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post #20 of 75
If I wanted to appear completely dorky and square I'd star in a commercial like bill gates did with seinfeld... an old dood who is far past his prime as well.
If I wanted to be seen as a shady poser I'd copy everything the cool kid Apple did.
If I wanted to bully people I'd hire an overbearing egomaniac to run my company like Ballmer
If I wanted to control everything I'd throw my weight around in any arena that had a star company innovating and ruin it for everyone with second rate shit hardware/software like a turbine engine cough- I mean xbox360 and restrict game content for super awesome games to their console with shady back room deals.
If I wanted to alienate my customer base I'd suckered into my dependancy I'd release shittier and costlier software upgrades they forced upon you.

My list of ifs could just go on and on into pathetic drivel. IMO this is badass to see MSFT in it's initial death throes.
post #21 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by madmaxmedia View Post

No, but don't you all see??? They are not copying Apple, they have insightfully adopted a successful customer service strategy from a totally different industry (retail apparel), and are innovatively implementing it in the personal computer 'space'. It is pure genius (no pun intended.)

What does this have to do with copying Apple? Didn't you read the press release? Nordstrom's is their inspiration, not Apple!

Problem identified here... Vista users are generally too poor to shop at Nordstroms, so the entire message will be lost on them. I mean, seriously. You're gonna tell me that someone who is used to buying a crap Dell or HP system isn't going to find it alien and confusing to be subtly romanced by Microsoft, the last bastion of technological devilry? The ship has hit the iceberg!

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post #22 of 75
I think Shoe Circus is supposed to be a metaphor for Microsoft.
The Conquistador is a metaphor for Windows Vista.
At first it "runs a little tight" but with a little breaking in... its a 10!
Oh, and you've been a platinum member of the Microsoft Clown Club for so long and earning your Big Top points, so why switch to those fancy shoes that fit better and don't fall apart?
After all you are getting a "quality product at a discount price, so why pay more?"

or am I reading way too much into this?
post #23 of 75
I couldn't find a Shoe Circus near my house. Where can I get the Microsoft shoes they advertised?
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post #24 of 75
If the whole campaign is that subtle, they've got a lot of explaining to do to the shareholders.

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post #25 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by city View Post

I couldn't find a Shoe Circus near my house. Where can I get the Microsoft shoes they advertised?

Zappos.com.

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post #26 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sector7G View Post

I think steve jobs once said "those who can't innovate, imitate"

Or as Warren Buffett put it recently, it's the Innovators followed by the Imitators followed by the Swarming Incompetents.


And on that subject, what a stupid, stupid ad! Seriously, WTF?
post #27 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

...At first it "runs a little tight" but with a little breaking in... its a 10!...

After you run it in the shower for a little while...


Quote:
Originally Posted by city View Post

I couldn't find a Shoe Circus near my house. Where can I get the Microsoft shoes they advertised?

You mean the Professional edition or the Home Edition?
post #28 of 75
The other retarded MS commercial is the fake Windows Mojave and all the dumbshits claim to be surprised when they reveal they were using Vista. Vista has been out for over a year. They are not going to find regular people (as the ad claims) that never saw or used Vista before.

The new ad is even worse, especially when Jerry says give me a sign, and Gates twitches and clenches his ASS!

The Microsoft Geniuses at Circuit City and Best Buy won't be MS employees...they will probably just choose one of their loser dipshit employees and say you are the MS Genius. I can imagine the long line of people trying to get answers on how to remove viruses, spyware, etc.
post #29 of 75
Microsoft Gurus AKA the Geek Squad! I have been there and tried that, OMG!
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post #30 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sector7G View Post

I think steve jobs once said "those who can't innovate, imitate"

It was Woody Allen who said "Those who can't, teach, and those who can't teach, teach gym"
A lot funnier than that ad.
post #31 of 75
Thanks Bill for the tip on where to get nice shows.
post #32 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by BHoughton View Post

I love CP+B. Infact, it's my goal when I graduate college to work for them.

But that commercial is a disappointment. What they've done for VW, Burger King, and Apple is amazing. But this? It's nothing special or eye catching.

Maybe Apple secretly paid CP+B to do a subpar ad campaign for Microsoft?

CP+B has never done any work for Apple. All Apple ads are done by Chiat Day.

MM
post #33 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Will MS ever have an original idea?

That's not fair. Guru isn't spelled anything like Genius. Except for the first letter. And the letter 'u'. But other than that, there's no similarity at all. And using a comedian like Seinfeld is nothing like using a comedian like Will Ferrell. Nothing at all. And the Vista blue background is nothing like the Mac's blue background. An entirely different shade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by calguy View Post

This means they are going to rely on spiritualism for their repairs. When does the technical come into play?
Aren't they using the same thing when installing Vista already.

I think they'll just sacrifice goats. The only problem will be coming up with a sufficient supply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmon750 View Post

The Apple genius bar just has to deal with hardware issues and software issues that compared to Windows is much easier to deal with since most of it is a closed ecosystem.

Not at all. I can see it now. Customer walks in. If 'Guru' can't repair problem in 30 seconds, they tell the customer it's a hardware problem and they should contact the hardware vendor. It's obviously not a problem with Vista, after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Allright. Did anyone else wonder how the Apple specialists and Microsoft "Gurus" are going to interact in the Best Buy stores? Arn't some of the folks placed in the Apple "stores within a store" supposed to be Apple employees?

I imagine the two camps building forts, laying seige and making alliances with the other departments...

Just look for the nerdy ones - they'll be the Microsoft ones. And their weaponry won't work due to dll conflicts.
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post #34 of 75
Together, you can pray that Vista finally works right.
post #35 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I think Shoe Circus is supposed to be a metaphor for Microsoft.
The Conquistador is a metaphor for Windows Vista.
At first it "runs a little tight" but with a little breaking in... its a 10!
Oh, and you've been a platinum member of the Microsoft Clown Club for so long and earning your Big Top points, so why switch to those fancy shoes that fit better and don't fall apart?
After all you are getting a "quality product at a discount price, so why pay more?"

or am I reading way too much into this?

You of course realize that the photo on the card of Bill Gates' Clown Club card is his mug shot from when he was arrested in Albuquerque NM right?

http://www.mugshots.org/misc/bill-gates.html

That was the best part in my opinion.

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post #36 of 75
70 next month. I don't get the commercial at all.
And I'll never switch to MS. And I never watched Seinfeld. OMG I'm going to die soon without ever enjoying the joys of a MS OS!!

And I hate Apple for making Mail so incredibly hard to set up (I'm an old Eudora user) and the weekend I just wasted trying to get FireFox3 to download properly after upgrading to Leopard would make any Vista user cry in compassion....
post #37 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by heavydevelopment View Post

You of course realize that the photo on the card of Bill Gates' Clown Club card is his mug shot from when he was arrested in Albuquerque NM right?

http://www.mugshots.org/misc/bill-gates.html

That was the best part in my opinion.

Listen buddy, I took the picture.
post #38 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by heavydevelopment View Post

You of course realize that the photo on the card of Bill Gates' Clown Club card is his mug shot from when he was arrested in Albuquerque NM right?

http://www.mugshots.org/misc/bill-gates.html

That was the best part in my opinion.

Also you all realize the mutual admiration of Bill and Jerry is because they both got out when they were ahead.
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post #39 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankenSigns.biz View Post

That was a really bad commercial. Is it just me? That was really bad. I like Jerry Sienfeild. He was good. But the chemistry wasn't there. It was... I don't know. Yeech. I was gonna say Ewww. But it's more Yeech. Yes, very yeechy. Not gonna work.

Yeah, especially when Gates wiggled his butt cheeks!! Yuck! It made me feel like taking a shower. And yes, Microsoft has never innovated, only replicated and imitated.

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post #40 of 75
Listen, I'm no fan of the "Get a Mac" ads, I'm sick of them as a matter of fact, but what the F^&* was that? If this is Microsoft's answer to the "Get a Mac" ads then they should just throw in the towel now. I don't even get it? What are they saying? Bill Gates is so much richer than Jerry Seinfeld that Jerry will fit his shoes?
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