Microsoft flashing green in bid to poach Apple Retail experts

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
As Microsoft attempts to enter the retail landscape and compete head-to-head with Apple, the software giant is reportedly courting Apple Store employees with one of its greatest assets: cold, hard cash.



Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Microsoft contacted Apple retail store managers in an attempt to lure them away. The employees were offered raises and compensation for moving expenses if they agreed to work for Redmond, Wash.-based heavyweight, which intends to open its first brick-and-mortar stores this fall.



One person familiar with the matter, who recently spoke with AppleInsider under the condition of anonymity, detailed how that the Windows maker was able to court an Apple retail market manager, who had recently left the company. This person explained that the manager was offered a pay raise at their new position, where they would train new employees. The manager was then reportedly asked to contact the most seasoned Apple employees that they had presided over in an effort to recruit them as well.



Potential employees were offered "complete moving budgets, large signing bonuses and double the paycheck for all those hired as managers," the person familiar with the matter added. In addition, regular employees were given a signing bonus and "a little more than double" their salary with Apple. In total, some Apple retail stores have reportedly lost half a dozen of their staffers to in recent weeks as a result of the initiative.



Before Microsoft's first retail stores even open, its rivalry with Apple had been heating up. This week, AppleInsider revealed that the Mac maker has closed its Mission Viejo, Calif., store for renovations. That retail outlet is located in The Shops, where Microsoft intends to open one of its first stores, suggesting that Apple is planning a preemptive strike against its competitor.



Microsoft's recruitment has gone well beyond employees and store managers, as well. Earlier this year, the Windows maker courted George Blankenship to consult on its retail stores. Blankenship was one of the cornerstones of Apple's early retail efforts.



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



In addition, Microsoft has reportedly taken cues from Apple on the design and the services offered. Early leaked plans showed that Microsoft intends to feature "Guru Bars," much like Apple's Genius Bars, at its stores.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 84
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Wow! Contacting the retail store managers? Quite an interesting tactic.



    I'm actually really curious to see when Microsoft brings a retail store to my area (central NJ), and how it will fare.
  • Reply 2 of 84
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    Do we know the scale of MS's retail plans beyond the couple of stores they are slated to open? Even if they mean to eventually scale up to something approaching Apple's armada of stores, it doesn't seem likely that they'll need a great many actual store employees right out of the gate, so I can't imagine that they've decimated the staff ranks at too many Apple Stores, as of yet. I mean, what is MS going to do, pay them double their salary to sit in a warehouse for the next couple of years while they build more stores?



    Also, are the stores going to be another money losing "we must compete with everything Apple does" vanity project for Ballmer? If they're paying their employees double what Apple does, doesn't that have a kind of significant impact on the expense side of the ledger?
  • Reply 3 of 84
    This is not going from Walmart to Costco. Apple is a brand, an identity. The cult of mac.

    Those employees who leave are not part of the cult, and good riddance. You could not pay me enough to work for Microsoft. Besides, what do they offer? the zune and viruses.
  • Reply 4 of 84
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    I was just thinking... The MS stores if anything will not so much put pressure on Apple as much as put pressure on stores that sell the XBox 360 and 360 games such as Gamestop. Am I wrong for thinking this?
  • Reply 5 of 84
    buckbuck Posts: 293member
    I don't understand. It won't work. They're still going to deal with Windows. So it doesn't matter how experienced or unexperienced the person is. Besides many people are quite confident with Windows but Macheads are still hard to come by. I wonder what they're gaining by hiring people who're most likely not as familiar with MS technologies as other folks.
  • Reply 6 of 84
    As Microsoft attempts to enter the retail landscape and compete head-to-head with Apple



    Bad idea. When you have next to nothing to sell. It's a Best Buy with cleaner floors.
  • Reply 7 of 84
    Apple culture or no, money is important. If nothing else, Microsoft hurts Apple retail (at least a little) by taking away their best employees.



    A person may have a "Mac for Life" tattoo and every Apple product ever made, but if they haven't been getting big raises it's hard to say no to "We'll double your pay."
  • Reply 8 of 84
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Winter View Post


    I was just thinking... The MS stores if anything will not so much put pressure on Apple as much as put pressure on stores that sell the XBox 360 and 360 games such as Gamestop. Am I wrong for thinking this?



    Bingo. M$ is really taking the wrong path on this one. Especially if their stores focus on selling products instead of explaining the benefits of windows.
  • Reply 9 of 84
    Just imagine you were offered DOUBLE your salary to work somewhere else...wouldn't you do it?

    Personally I think the Microsoft stores will fail and close fast...the question is what are they going to offer? I mean really almost every brand of computer(excluding macs of course) sold out there has a Microsoft product pre-installed and you can buy all sorts of computers and Microsoft products on-line from a HUGE amount of stores out there so what is the point of having a Microsoft store? For God's sake Windows 7 is not even out yet and there is no evidence yet that it might turn out to be another disaster like Windows Vista.
  • Reply 10 of 84
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    It's just a job--if you're offered a lot more money, then unless you really like your Apple job (which is separate from liking Apple products) I say take it



    There's always the risk of it being a shorter-term opportunity than you hoped, of course.
  • Reply 11 of 84
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alohatiger View Post


    Apple culture or no, money is important. If nothing else, Microsoft hurts Apple retail (at least a little) by taking away their best employees.



    A person may have a "Mac for Life" tattoo and every Apple product ever made, but if they haven't been getting big raises it's hard to say no to "We'll double your pay."



    Well, as I say, it doesn't seem at all clear that whatever handful of anecdotal reports of poached employees amounts to anything more than a drop in the bucket.



    Let's be generous and assume that they plan to open several more stores next year, having opened two this fall. Let's be real generous and say they get 10 open next year. Even if each store is half staffed with former Apple employees, that's an insignificant number of people. They probably lose more employees than that to attrition every few months.



    As to MS "taking away their best employees", how do you figure? Is jumping ship for more money a mark of ones quality as an employee, now?
  • Reply 12 of 84
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alohatiger View Post


    Apple culture or no, money is important. If nothing else, Microsoft hurts Apple retail (at least a little) by taking away their best employees.



    A person may have a "Mac for Life" tattoo and every Apple product ever made, but if they haven't been getting big raises it's hard to say no to "We'll double your pay."



    Those Apple employees seduced away by Microsoft's cash will soon regret it when Microsoft's retail ship crashes on the rocks while Apple continues to lead the retail sector in revenue per square foot.



    To put it another way: How much would you bet that Apple's retail stores will still be with us in ten years? How about Microsoft's?
  • Reply 13 of 84
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by res08hao View Post


    This is not going from Walmart to Costco. Apple is a brand, an identity. The cult of mac.

    Those employees who leave are not part of the cult, and good riddance. You could not pay me enough to work for Microsoft. Besides, what do they offer? the zune and viruses.



    Making a living and improving your living standard is more important. Cult and loyalty will not get you that car or that big plasma TV you want. Double the money is an offer only an idiot refuse.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alohatiger View Post


    Apple culture or no, money is important. If nothing else, Microsoft hurts Apple retail (at least a little) by taking away their best employees.



    A person may have a "Mac for Life" tattoo and every Apple product ever made, but if they haven't been getting big raises it's hard to say no to "We'll double your pay."



    Exactly.
  • Reply 14 of 84
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    My guess is that MS is prepared to lose money on these things (AKA seemingly everything they do outside of the Windows/Office duopoly).



    They're not looking to move product, they're looking to build mindshare for whatever version of the "Windows experience" they're currently touting.



    They can see that Apple is having a lot of success with "ecosystems" and "synergies" across multiple hardware platforms and al kinds of software; they figure you can more or less do the same thing with Windows but maybe people aren't quite getting that.



    So I would expect to see a heavy emphasis on PC/Xbox/Media Center/Zune integration (insofar as that exists).



    However, we should never forget that Microsoft is the company that produced this.



    I don't care what anyone says, a company that is capable of making that, and thinking that it's a marketing tool, is in danger of trying to sell things in their stores by affixing a dead cat to each item. It really sort of deifies imagination, the terribleness.



    So while they may be able to make their best effort to simply clone Apple's stores, there is something deeply clueless and stupid in MS's DNA, or at least in the Windows division.



    I expect the stores to devolve into a grotesque mashup of an Apple Store, a Hot Topic, and a tupperware party.
  • Reply 15 of 84
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alohatiger View Post


    Apple culture or no, money is important. If nothing else, Microsoft hurts Apple retail (at least a little) by taking away their best employees.



    A person may have a "Mac for Life" tattoo and every Apple product ever made, but if they haven't been getting big raises it's hard to say no to "We'll double your pay."



    This is almost all backwards.



    They aren't by any means taking "the best employees," they are in fact starting with a failed manager and some average/mediocre employees, and any employee that would take more money to betray the company they worked for can hardly be called "the best." People can be bribed certainly, and it's understandable why the average clerk would take double the money to work at Microsoft, but this hardly makes them "the best employees." Quite the reverse in fact.



    Taking an offer like this is a idiots game. It's like those that are actually fooled by the "first three months are free" stuff that many service companies offer. At the end of the day, you are better off getting a fair wage for a fair days' work in a competent company that's giving you opportunities than you are going for the money, (although most kids of the age to work in an Apple store probably haven't learned that yet.)



    Microsoft (or anyone), cannot afford to pay double wages. These are just teasers and promos to get the first few employees in the door and to make some PR waves. A year or two from now, these people are all going to be out of a job and then the double wages they made for that short period of time are not going to look so good.



    Even if they stay with the company and even if the stores actually prosper, you won't see these wage offers for the second wave of employees and you won't see double wages continue for these people as they move up within the organisation. People who are enticed by these kinds of offers are either desperate, or idiots.
  • Reply 16 of 84
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,664member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    Making a living and improving your living standard is more important. Cult and loyalty will not get you that car or that big plasma TV you want. Double the money is an offer only an idiot refuse.







    Exactly.



    As has been mentioned by others, not being an idiot would include a realistic assessment of the long term viability of the operation that's offering you more money. You're not going to come off looking particularly smart if you jump ship for more money and wind up out of a job altogether a year down the line.



    I don't think it's terribly unreasonable to regard these first two MS stores as sort of trial balloons. If they don't really do anything, I would guess MS will quietly shelve whatever plans they might have on the drawing boards for expansion, and let the guinea pigs die.
  • Reply 17 of 84
    seems like a case similar to Fox News taking Glenn Beck
  • Reply 18 of 84
    axualaxual Posts: 244member
    MS is not competing with Apple, but with Best Buy, Walmart and everyone else selling their wares. This is a futile effort and will cost shareholders millions ... bad idea, but then it's not surprising. Apple has been firing on all cylinders for many years while Microsoft has failed in a number of areas, not the least of which is Zune.



    Any employee which moves to MS for an extra few $ is probably not an employee Apple needs or wants in it's retail locations.
  • Reply 19 of 84
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Microsoft has reportedly taken cues from Apple on the design and the services offered



    Steve Jobs should take a digital photo of his toilet bowl full of sh*t and e-mail that to Steve Ballmer of MS with a note saying, "Damn son, you can't even sh*t without being shown how!"



    Seriously, doubling pay, paying for complete moving budgets, signing bonuses, etc. we're talking about a MS retail outlet, not the highest paid quarterback in the NFL! Sheesh!!



    MS as usual can throw a ton of money at a venture but that doesn't guarantee success! When will they ever learn?
  • Reply 20 of 84
    One of these days Microsoft will do something it thought of and did the work needed to make it a successful product/service. To quote Balmer we are going to give our users more of a Mac type experience. Perhaps he should have added we will be using former Apple employees to pull it off.



    I have a question. If there is such a thing as corporate Pride / Integrity or Morals . Then does it not strike the average Joe Blow , Microsoft has very little or very close to none. ? In the dealings we all have with this company or the next would there not be occasion, that if we found out that a company was behaving this way we would take our patronage elsewhere.



    When it is all boiled down really it is just sad that we as a society deal with a company like Microsoft.

    Sad just sad. HT
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