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Microsoft to open new retail stores like Apple

post #1 of 131
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Microsoft has announced plans to dive into the challenging retail business with its own corporate-branded outlets to take on Apple's growing visibility among consumers.

A report filed by Reuters said the company had no information on what products the stores would sell, how many it planned to open, or when and where those stores might open.

Those details would be determined by David Porter, a former DreamWorks Animation executive heading up worldwide product distribution who earlier acted as a manager at Wal-Mart. Opening a new chain of stores would be a monumental task, particularly during a global recession that is literally killing retailers of all kinds.

In a press statement, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said, "We're working hard to transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience at retail by improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition so that it's clear, simple and straightforward for consumers everywhere."

Tech retail stores have a particularly poor track record, with Gateway and Palm failing in their efforts to sell their own hardware in boutique stores, and the high profile failures of CompUSA and Circuit City to operate larger stores with wider PC-related product selections.

Apple's adventures in retail

Analysts expected Apple to fail when it announced plans to begin opening stores back in 2001. Consultant David Goldstein of Channel Marketing Corp said at the time, "It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for them to open retail stores."

Goldstein claimed Apple's retail strategy wasn't going to work because consumers "haven't indicated that they're having trouble finding outlets that sell Macs," adding, "It's another case of Apple being Jobs driven and not consumer driven."

Apple had earlier floated conceptual plans with Landmark Entertainment to open a series of posh cybercafes back in 1997, an idea which went nowhere. But in 1999, realizing Apple needed outside expertise to enter the retailing business, Steve Jobs recruited Millard 'Mickey' Drexler (who had served as CEO for the Gap and later J. Crew) to assemble a retail team.

Apple then hired Ron Johnson, a vice president of merchandising at Target, as its senior vice president of retail operations; George Blankenship from the Gap as its vice president of real estate; Kathie Calcidise as its vice president of retail operations; and Sonys Allen Moyer as its vice president of development.

Ten years later, Apple's 251 retail stores, 41 of which are outside the US, employ nearly 16,000 employees and contribute more than a quarter of the company's profits. The iconic stores give Apple a public face and serve as training centers as well as sales outlets. At the release of the iPhone, Apple's retail store locations helped to whip up a media frenzy with enthusiastic buyers camping out in long lines.

Microsoft's desire for retail stores

In contrast, Microsoft was at the mercy of independent retailers when it tried to release the Zune in competition with the iPod. It ended up embarrassed when retailers failed to promote it over the faster selling iPod, in some cases selling the iPod on top of unsold boxes of Zunes. Microsoft similarly spent millions to get retailers to promote Windows Vista, without much success.

With its own stores like Apple's, Microsoft would have greater ability to push its products exclusively, rather than seeing its Xbox 360 sit next to the newer Sony PlayStation 3 or the cheaper Nintendo Wii, for example. At the same time, if Microsoft plans to sell Windows PCs or Windows Mobile Phones, it might run into problems balancing the attentions of its hardware partners.

The Retail Experience Center is a private, 20,000-square-foot mock retail store environment located at Microsoft Corp.s headquarters. Redmond, Wash.

Dell has attempted to open its own retail stores selling Windows PCs, and along with other PC retailers, might take offense at Microsoft muscling into its turf, just as Apple's retail partners initially expressed concern when the Mac maker first announced plans to sell its own hardware itself.

Technologies will deliver targeted, real-time information to a shopping cart or a consumers mobile phone to help impact buying decisions, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft's Metreon retail experiment

Microsoft has operated at least one retail store in the past, an 8,500 square foot development at the Metreon in San Francisco called "microsoftSF," launched during the dot com boom in 1999. In addition to rows of software boxes and demonstrations of Microsoft's ill fated WebTV Network, the store also displayed art installations, such as one involving Microsoft Mice decorated by various people, and sold microsoftSF merchandise.

In a press release introducing the store, CEO Steve Baller said, "San Francisco and the Silicon Valley are home to the world's largest and one of the most sophisticated high-tech audiences, so this was the natural place to create this site - dedicated to showing, in an interactive environment, the way technology can enhance our working, learning, living and playing." The location closed two and half years later and is now a Sony Playstation store.

After watching Apple succeed in retail and the company's profile in general rise in the consumer electronics market, Microsoft has kept a close eye on Apple's other operations as well. The company has recently revealed plans to open an online mobile marketplace patterned after the iPhone App Store called SkyMarket, and to operate a cloud syncing service similar to the iPhone's MobileMe called My Phone. It has also replicated components of Apple's iLife apps, attempted to clone Apple's integrated iPod with the Zune, announced plans to add iPhone-like touch features to Windows Mobile, and has closely monitored the development of Mac OS X, modifying its plans for Vista and Windows 7 to make them more competitive with Apple's offerings.
post #2 of 131
On your mark, get set, MOCK!!!1!11!!!!!!
post #3 of 131
That's like a magically fantasy land like Circuit City opening retail stores to compete with Best Buy.
post #4 of 131
FAIL
post #5 of 131
I'm so hoping they call it (after the Windows Mobile App Bazaar) Microsoft's Bazaar (Bizarre)
post #6 of 131
At this point, any reasonably large-hearted observer can make only one suggestion: SELL! GET OUT OF MSFT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!
post #7 of 131
Khaki Zune? 7 different versions of Wirus 7? T-shirt saying "I love Steve Ballmer?"

And their Tech Staff will teach people how to press CTRL ALT DEL with one hand only, while reaching for RESET button with other one?
Marquiz d' Gabber von Gabberaarde

... and Windows Vista...
... fails on the Moon...
... 6x slower!
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Marquiz d' Gabber von Gabberaarde

... and Windows Vista...
... fails on the Moon...
... 6x slower!
Reply
post #8 of 131
Other than Microsoft trying to copy all of Apple's business strategies, how in the world does this make any sense? All the big-box retailers push Windows driven PCs over Macs already. What will a Microsoft store offer that they already don't?

I've been to the microsoftSF store at the Metreon, it didn't offer anything you couldn't get anywhere else. Except for the fact that it only sold Microsoft products, which is kinda dumb considering Windows didn't get to where it is by Microsoft alone. It would be like going into an Apple store and only seeing Apple products rather than the whole ecosystem that makes up the Mac/Apple experience.

This is Microsoft reaching for ideas when they can't admit that they've run out of them... desperation. I think they should do their stockholders a favor and transform themselves into what they really are, an enterprise company. Save all that money trying to compete in markets they clearly have no idea what they're doing.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #9 of 131
I can see it now, big giant rectangular beige buildings.
post #10 of 131
Well I hope they copy the Apple Genius formula and offer Microsoft Techs to perform services for the customers. Such as Virus and Spyware removal and yearly clean installs to address Windows Creep.
post #11 of 131
Who on earth comes up with these stupid ideas?

Who on this earth is going to have fun in a Microsoft shop? Seriously?

They've got a few good (err... successful) products: Windows, Office, Xbox 360, Keyboard & Mouse. And every single one of those products is available at the nearest retailer or at some kind of discount online. And people don't really get very excited about any of these productsthey buy them if they want them and move on with their life.

If they're going to jump on some kind of Apple bandwagon they should at least make sure they can benefit in the same way Apple does...

"Ready to go to the Microsoft store, Jimmy?!"
"... I hate you, dad... I HATE you!"
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #12 of 131
you know I wonder... is Steve Ballmer coming up with all these brilliant ideas... I mean really, no sane person would come up with all of this copying Apple and everyone else they see fit. Not to mention those terrible Songsmith commercials... Is Ballmer their creative thinker, their marketer, and CEO ???

bet these stores will be filled with lots of 'wowwww' factor, as in a Ben Stien way.
post #13 of 131
Oh for christ sake, this is getting ridiculous.
post #14 of 131
"transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience at retail by improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition so that it's clear, simple and straightforward for consumers everywhere."

Ha ha ha ha ...Ha hahahaha .....oHoHoHoHoho....oooo....ha Ha Ha Ha ...He HE Eh HEhehe..aghhhh. ....Ha Ha Ha HA HA...aw god...hoo hoo hoo...ahghhghh. .....oh god, oh god.... Ha ha ha ha ...Ha hahahaha ..:lo l:
post #15 of 131
I hope the store is one big customer service desk because all they'll get is complaints about spyware.
post #16 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

At this point, any reasonably large-hearted observer can make only one suggestion: SELL! GET OUT OF MSFT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!

I still don't get it... why would the best selling software company in the world get out of a successful business... are you guys morons? Really?
post #17 of 131
A Microsoft Windoze store is like setting up a store to sell only brake fluid? Lot's of people use it but, do you need a store? These guys are totally brainless. Will someone please tell them, "You're Not Apple" quit pretending.
post #18 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffyzDead View Post

"transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience at retail by improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition so that it's clear, simple and straightforward for consumers everywhere."

Ha ha ha ha ...Ha hahahaha .....oHoHoHoHoho....oooo....ha Ha Ha Ha ...He HE Eh HEhehe..aghhhh. ....Ha Ha Ha HA HA...aw god...hoo hoo hoo...ahghhghh. .....oh god, oh god.... Ha ha ha ha ...Ha hahahaha ..:lo l:

Translation: Try to convince customers that this version of Windows will finally fix all their problems. Over-promise and under-deliver in true Microsoft fashion.
post #19 of 131
They could generate a lot of traffic in the stores by offering free downgrades to XP.
post #20 of 131
What computers will they use to demonstrate Windows? Macs maybe - they are the best looking. By the way the article says Steve BALLER.
post #21 of 131
This is brilliant, it shows the difference between Apple and Microsoft perfectly. It's like when Steve Jobs introduced Front Row and showed off the Apple remote verses the one for Windows Media Edition. Check out this statement....

"We're working hard to transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience at retail by improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition so that it's clear, simple and straightforward for consumers everywhere."

And this...

"Visit an Apple Retail Store to test drive a Mac and get all the answers you need."
post #22 of 131
The only thing I can see making possible sense would be SMALL (kiosk?) XBox 360 stations, selling mainly games. They could also sell a few consoles and Zunes on the side. This would not be to compete against Apple, of course, but against Nintendo and Sony. I don't see how it would make much sense to involve PCs or the Windows OS in some new retail presence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

I still don't get it... why would the best selling software company in the world get out of a successful business... are you guys morons? Really?

You misread what you quoted: he was telling people to sell MSFT stock. Not telling Microsoft to change.

Effective name-calling though
post #23 of 131
I guess they are taking "Redmond, start your photocopiers" seriously! It was a joke Microsoft, not an invitation!
post #24 of 131
Microsoft ought to spend billions building and marketing retail outlets. Build dozens at a time, forget the gradual rollout approach. This is the surest way for Microsoft to restore itself to the pantheon of great companies.

C'mon, Redmond, if Steve Jobs can do it, you ought to be able to do it 10 times better. Go for it -- briskly. This is such a sure thing, you ought to borrow a lot of money to get it going quickly. I'm phoning my broker tomorrow before the market opens. Let all of my spare cash ride on some sweet MSFT action. Thanks for giving the rest of us a chance to get on the ground floor and become millionaires like the first investors in MSFT. Wooo-hoooo!
post #25 of 131
Even though I doubt Microsoft can pull it off, this isn't such a bad idea in that there is so much mall space available. Microsoft doesn't directly compete with typical mall stores, thus landlords will offer sweet deals just so the mall doesn't like like a ghost town. I don't think they will have free standing locations. There is also some symbolism in having these store, even if they are not profitable, just like Sony does in upscale malls and high profile locations. Think Time Square!
Cubist
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Cubist
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post #26 of 131


That is the beginning of the end of Microsoft.

What will they sell?

Software? Zunes and get . May be they can sell iPods and Macs
post #27 of 131
I wonder if their stores will crash as quickly as windows does? What will they do then? It would be funny if the CDC shut them down...
post #28 of 131
You want fries with that?

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

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Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

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post #29 of 131
Ah, so there it is... Microsoft will be making PCs someday. Stores that are not funded by the biggest ticket items? Sure, that could work in an anemic sales kind of way. God bless..

=>It's going to be fascinating to watch the head turn on its own arms and legs for nourishment.
post #30 of 131
"In a press release introducing the store, CEO Steve Baller said"

Baller..more like Balls-up.

More Micro-fail..nothing I love more.

And you know what they say: if you can't beat them, copy them.
post #31 of 131
In Microsoft Country, the local news compared it to WAL-MART rather than APPLE. Now, I know it's because they hired a former Wal-Mart executive, but I am doubting there will be an 80+ year old man greeting you at the door. I am also seriously doubting LOWER PRICES.

So... how is that like Wal-Mart again?
post #32 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffyzDead View Post

"transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience at retail by improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition so that it's clear, simple and straightforward for consumers everywhere."

I had that exact same phrase copied and ready to paste, but read your comment first. Nonetheless, part of it bears repeating:

Quote:
improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition

"improving the articulation"?!? I think the word he's searching for is "articuloptimising".

Why not? One bit of marketing gibberish is as good as the rest.

(Also: I have the proud honor of getting kicked out of the Metreon Microsoft store before I even had a chance to set foot inside. I was merely among a group of people dressed in monk's robes, come to worship Bill Gates at the shrine. For some reason the security guards had a thing against monks...)
post #33 of 131
I visited the old Microsoft store are few times at the (formerly) Sony Metreon back in the day out of curiosity. I remembered being in there and looking around wondering "What are they trying to sell here". It was not very clear what their intent was.

I really hope they don't try to mimic the feel of an Apple store, in particular the Genius bar. They could not pay me enough to work behind a Microsoft bar. Spyware, malware, viruses, corrupted registries, trojans, and really, really pissed-off users.

It will be like running a hospital emergency room, all the patients are bleeding to death, and none of them have insurance to pay for it.

They tried it once and failed. Of course, they will probably say have someone in marketing say it was just an "experiment". Twice may be the charm but it's a different ballgame now.

It's not going to be pretty.
post #34 of 131
Ah... I see some MINOR (sarcasm) problems in such a strategy....

1. where do you put your stores in order NOT to piss off the closes biggest retailer of your products?
2. the aforementioned retailer will fight back with discounts and the like so you cannot compete on price (as "geniouses" and "win" experts will be more expensive than the average salesperson in a conventional retail shop)

maybe open only flagship stores?

3. on which brands are they going to showcase Windows? Choose brand A and you will piss off brand B and so on...
4. if they choose to have multiple brands then the Windows experience might be very different (speed, performance, screen resolution, color, you name it) from one another, thus providing NO PERCEPTION of Windows as a brand.
5. Microsoft is in music (cough cough), computers, office software, games... How can they possibly convey a uniform message and feeling when their products are so different in target, experience, design?

6. How are they going to choose which brand makes the store and which doesn't? By asking money?
7. Since Microsoft mainly sells software, what are they going to sell there? Couple of Xboxes? Zunes? Windows software but no PC? A whole PC? Which brand???


Microsoft owes their success to the fact they ARE NOT A BRAND in software! They are ubiquitous (however that is spelled), they are "behind the scenes".
I see Microsoft's struggle, I really do... Building a brand after years in which it was convenient being none...

But the solution, in my modest opinion, is NOT MICROSOFT as a brand with flagship stores.

I would much more see Microsoft become a brand like Unilever is (or Johnson, or others). Some sort of guarantee brand (don't laugh here, please) leaving each product with a branding and marketing of their own.

That's the route they started taking some years ago, a route which would allow them to avoid monopoly charges...

Windows
Office
XboX
Zune
Silverlight

Let each of them become a recognized and powerful brand, instead of squeezing them into Microsoft's name and brand. Let the positive image that some of your products (quite inexplicably) have not be wasted by associating them one another. Office is fine!! Why tie that to Microsoft which, in turn, will tie it to Vista and it's epic failure?


Try something different, seriously, please. Consumers, regardless of what Mr. Ballmer secretly thinks, are not stupid. Apple is gaining momentum and your retail strategy, as highlighted by you, will only make it more apparent that you are copying Apple, hence eroding the credit you still might have in some areas...
post #35 of 131
Start ordering your Apple apparel. This is going to be fun...
post #36 of 131
wonder if those goldsteins ate their words and apologized for their stupidity again?
post #37 of 131
Apple's products lend themselves well to being displayed elegantly in a boutique style store. Microsoft's are very utilitarian. A store like MS would put together would not be exciting to explore. PC geeks would rather just hang out in Fry's or Microcenter. Can you picture a mini Fry's in a nice mall?
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 #38 of 131
Sorry you are not permitted to enter this store at this time.

If you feel this is and error please contact your local retailer for advise.
post #39 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMat View Post

Silverlight

a recognized and powerful brand,


Is it ?
post #40 of 131
Its interesting reading all the comments and how everyone is so negative to the idea. Though for some of us that actually use both a PC and Mac might be a good idea. I am not going to ridicule it till they announce what products they are going to sell.

Keep laughing but it might actually be a success.

For one if they had an equivalent of the Genius bar, that would do wonders for them, cause these shops would be a central point for users to come with questions about windows os. It basically gives Microsoft a way to interact with their clients at a retail level.

Also who knows what products they might have up thier sleeve for these stores.

Now that Apple has become popular i find them acting more like Microsoft and Microsoft acting like the old apple. Apples behavior around the Iphone is pure old Microsoft. For some of us who are old school Apple users, today's apple is not the same, they got a taste of Big corporate $$$ and things are changing...
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