Microsoft stores to mimic Apple's with "Guru Bars"

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A leaked presentation has exposed Microsoft's tentative plans for its retail stores -- and the high degree to which they'll imitate Apple stores, down to their layouts and even the presence of a dedicated "Guru Bar" for help.



A leaked proposal for Microsoft from design consulting firm Lippicott immediately provides hints of an Apple connection with a bright, open layout where the center and edges of the store are dominated by computers showing the "seamless" link between Windows PCs and peripherals. Themed areas would push specific products, such as home theater PCs, netbooks or Windows Mobile and Zune devices.



On closer inspection, though, the influence becomes at times extremely close. The reference store seen by Gizmodo would have a Guru Bar -- in some slides labeled as an Answer Bar or Windows Bar -- that would directly copy the Genius Bars at Apple stores and let customers make appointments either for help or just to ask questions. The number of products would be kept to a minimum to avoid the confusion present in stores where most Windows PCs are sold today. Microsoft's outlets would even revive the theater component that Apple has mostly tossed aside: an "event space" at the back of the store would provide a dedicated screen and seating for training sessions or social events.



Lippicott isn't shy about where it takes its cue and shows the positive experiences it sees in other major, if not always successful, retail brands. Apple is held as the best example for its branding, simple layouts, and enthusiastic staff, but others aren't quite treated so kindly. Sony stores are criticized for "uninformed" staff and poor layouts, while AT&T and Nike are also docked for certain weaknesses.



Customers could even set aside parts of the store for paid private events, such as custom group training or, oddly enough, birthday parties.



The standard PC tables at the proposed Microsoft store design. | Image credits: Gizmodo.



A Guru Bar at the tentative Microsoft store. | Image credits: Gizmodo.



Lippicott's positive view of how the Apple store concept could benefit Microsoft. | Image credits: Gizmodo.



Where Microsoft would differentiate itself is in the technology behind the shopping experience. Instead of static graphics, a giant store-length display would advertise new products and change with the season or with major launches. Not surprisingly, multi-touch Surface tables would be omnipresent to give shoppers demos of certain experiences, and customers could order computers online or even print custom notebook decals at the store.



As the extensive document isn't necessarily representative of Microsoft's final action plan, it's undetermined just how much of this experience would actually reach the finished stores when they open in the fall. The slides indicate that the store arrangement may be intended for flagship stores and, by extension, could be scaled back for smaller locations. However, they do corroborate previous reports that the stores will be showcases for Microsoft's ideal vision of computing rather than a store meant to move as much product as possible.



Company executives have previously sworn that the stores wouldn't echo Apple "in the long term" and that the future shops would serve as incubators for ideas other retailers could use to improve their own stores. All the same, the new presentation shows that, at least in the short term, visitors to Apple's shops will find more than a few similarities in what Microsoft plans to offer.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 170
    ricksbrainricksbrain Posts: 517member
    Very original.
  • Reply 2 of 170
    xwiredtvaxwiredtva Posts: 389member
    1000 points to the first person who takes a Mac there, gets a picture of the salesmans face and uploads it here!
  • Reply 3 of 170
    Talk about running scared. Words almost cannot describe how badly this will backfire on M$.
  • Reply 4 of 170
    penchantedpenchanted Posts: 1,070member
    It's going to be fun watching the various hardware vendors whining how its competitors are treated better. This has the potential to get really ugly for MS.
  • Reply 5 of 170
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    If you can't beat 'um...
  • Reply 6 of 170
    enzosenzos Posts: 344member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A leaked presentation has exposed Microsoft's tentative plans for its retail stores -- and the high degree to which they'll imitate Apple stores, down to their layouts and even the presence of a dedicated "Guru Bar" for help.



    Wizards.. recycle bins.. guru fucking bars?! What's with these clowns? Can't they live in the real world and have tash, help and geniuses? We know they won't have the genius loci.
  • Reply 7 of 170
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,524member
    Well, the Guru Bars should at least guarantee they will always have

    a big crowd of people in there.
  • Reply 8 of 170
    l255jl255j Posts: 57member
    I wonder if the Guru Bar would appreciate someone bringing them a Macbook Pro with Windows XP installed on it looking for their help!
  • Reply 9 of 170
    The one thing Apple has going for it is the fact that what you see in the stores is what you get no matter who you buy your Apple computer from. Apple controls the hardware and the software loaded on each Apple computer, Microsoft can't do this.



    The customer experience for people at the Microsoft stores is going to be OK but when they buy something from Dell, Compaq, HP, Toshiba, Sony etc. etc. its going to come loaded with bloatware, ever PC maker has its own way of configuring their PCs differing from the next PC maker and it most likely won't be what the customer saw at the Guru Bar, thus the Guru Experience is going to bomb.



    Microsoft just can't seem to figure this out and its not likely they are going to. I have no doubt the stores are going to be filled with laptops and desktops that are not the "better values" they show in there commercials so again the PC buyer gets his $500 laptop from Best Buy and goes home to something slow, large icons because the screen resolution is poor and once again, the experience bombs.



    Microsoft is great at copying other companies ideas but they never understand why. I see apple having fun with more of their own commercials in the future making fun of the Guru Experience.
  • Reply 10 of 170
    djpadzdjpadz Posts: 37member
    Anybody remember that Far Side cartoon about equine medicine? I understand the Guru manual is similar, only instead of "shoot it," it says "reboot it" as the solution for everything.
  • Reply 11 of 170
    jeffharrisjeffharris Posts: 529member
    This "concept" is a 100% copy of an Apple Store! Oh, gee, they changed the labels and use different typefaces. How original. Even the design of the tables is nearly an exact copy.



    There are simply NO words to describe the pure and utter creative bankruptcy that Microsoft represents.



    Who would actually go into one of these stores? And why?



    Retail tech support? Wow what a concept. Except the MS Stores will have to fight off angry crowds.



    I think the "Guru Bar" concept needs some razor wire, machine guns and attack dogs. Maybe a few no-neck Russian Mafia types lurking around or crowd "control". (In Bulgaria they call them mutra.)



    My vision is of the New York City car towing place on the West Side, where you go to get your towed car. Everyone calmly lines up at the "teller" window to pay their fines and bail out their cars. But literally, EVERY person that goes up to the window suddenly yells at the poor bastard behind the bulletproof glass (it IS NYC!), launching into the vilest, funniest string of expletives and rancor you could ever imagine. If you weren't so goddam pissed off standing in line, you'd be laughing your head off, instead of waiting your turn to spew venom!



    I'd say that'll be the "Guru Bar".
  • Reply 12 of 170
    jeffharrisjeffharris Posts: 529member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    Well, the Guru Bars should at least guarantee they will always have

    a big crowd of people in there.



    Yeah, the torch and pitchfork crowd!
  • Reply 13 of 170
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member
    The Guru Bar. I guess they couldn't use "Brainiac Bar" because the Simpson's already nailed that one!
  • Reply 14 of 170
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Guru? Does that mean they will spout mystical claptrap instead of practical advice?



    "Sir, my mouse isn't working. What should I do?"

    "First, my son, you must journey to the Himalayas, and seek a man named..."
  • Reply 15 of 170
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 611member
    This makes you believe the last original thought this company had was the word "microsoft" itself.



    MS Guru Bar Application



    Name _________________



    Age _____ Gender ______



    Do you own a Zune?____



    Spell "DLL"_____________
  • Reply 16 of 170
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by L255J View Post


    I wonder if the Guru Bar would appreciate someone bringing them a Macbook Pro with Windows XP installed on it looking for their help!



    I'm actually going to try that.
  • Reply 17 of 170
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 611member
    make sure I'm not eating when you post something that funny. Now I gotta clean the milk off the screen. Worth it though.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by L255J View Post


    I wonder if the Guru Bar would appreciate someone bringing them a Macbook Pro with Windows XP installed on it looking for their help!



  • Reply 18 of 170
    MS is SO pathetic. Cracks me up when they talk about "innovation". They haven't got an ounce of it. Should be fun watching these things suck more money from their coffers as the stock continues it's downward slide.
  • Reply 19 of 170
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,142member
    The line of people with $400 PCs and no clue, lining up at the Guru will be miles long ... "Why does Internet Explorer say I am not connected to the internet yet iTunes can connect?"



    My bet is Ballmer will be fired in 2010. Personally I hope I am wrong ... he is wonderful for Apple.
  • Reply 20 of 170
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,142member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jpellino View Post


    This makes you believe the last original thought this company had was the word "microsoft" itself.



    MS Guru Bar Application



    Name _________________



    Age _____ Gender ______



    Do you own a Zune?____



    Spell "DLL"_____________



    I bet they stole that too along with CP/M and Mac OS.
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