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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 134
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member



    "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."

  • Reply 2 of 134
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member


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

  • Reply 3 of 134


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

  • Reply 4 of 134
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,413member


    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.

  • Reply 5 of 134
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,589member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 134
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member


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

  • Reply 7 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.

  • Reply 8 of 134
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,355member
    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?
  • Reply 9 of 134
    allenbfallenbf Posts: 993member


    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.

  • Reply 10 of 134


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

  • Reply 11 of 134
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 134
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    i forget, which acts have performed at previous apple store openings as customer draw gimmicks?
  • Reply 13 of 134
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member
    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 ...
  • Reply 14 of 134
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,355member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 134
    allenbfallenbf Posts: 993member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nickbaily View Post


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



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

  • Reply 16 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.

     

  • Reply 17 of 134
    ssquirrelssquirrel Posts: 1,196member


    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.

  • Reply 18 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.

  • Reply 19 of 134
    jmc54jmc54 Posts: 202member

    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!

  • Reply 20 of 134
    crunchcrunch Posts: 180member


    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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