Microsoft to open new retail stores like Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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 Sony?s 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 consumer?s 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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 130
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member
    On your mark, get set, MOCK!!!1!11!!!!!!
  • Reply 2 of 130
    That's like a magically fantasy land like Circuit City opening retail stores to compete with Best Buy.
  • Reply 3 of 130
    FAIL
  • Reply 4 of 130
    I'm so hoping they call it (after the Windows Mobile App Bazaar) Microsoft's Bazaar (Bizarre)
  • Reply 5 of 130
    At this point, any reasonably large-hearted observer can make only one suggestion: SELL! GET OUT OF MSFT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!
  • Reply 6 of 130
    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?
  • Reply 7 of 130
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,854member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 130
    I can see it now, big giant rectangular beige buildings.
  • Reply 9 of 130
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 130
    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 products?they 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!"
  • Reply 11 of 130
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 130
    Oh for christ sake, this is getting ridiculous.
  • Reply 13 of 130
    "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:
  • Reply 14 of 130
    I hope the store is one big customer service desk because all they'll get is complaints about spyware.
  • Reply 15 of 130
    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?
  • Reply 16 of 130
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 130
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 130
    They could generate a lot of traffic in the stores by offering free downgrades to XP.
  • Reply 19 of 130
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    What computers will they use to demonstrate Windows? Macs maybe - they are the best looking. By the way the article says Steve BALLER.
  • Reply 20 of 130
    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."
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