Microsoft Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree


“Hello! I’m Clippy. It looks like you’ve entered a Microsoft retail store. Do you want help buying a product?” –Ashlee Vance

I am both surprised… and not surprised to hear that Microsoft is opening its own retail stores. On February 12, Microsoft Corp. named David Porter as the vice president to the company’s retail stores. Porter will, “lead Microsoft’s efforts to create a better PC and Microsoft retail purchase experience for consumers worldwide through the development and opening of the company’s own retail stores.” If you haven’t already thought that this retail endeavor sounds familiar, then you probably haven’t seen a flashy Apple store yet. Indeed, Microsoft seems to be following suit yet again. Some question whether Microsoft retail stores will be as appealing as Apple retail stores, and I agree. Does Microsoft stand a chance while Apple stores radiate a magical glow that seems to naturally draw people like me into their shops?

I never go into an Apple store with the intention of buying a new MacBook Pro or iPod Touch, but the stores do let me play with expensive toys and allow me to imagine that I own the coolest phone in the universe: the iPhone 3G. Apple stores are visual eye candy as they seamlessly combine product design with architecture. They are a playground, a guilty pleasure, a tease. The Apple store is a destination for shoppers of all kinds at malls. It bring us together to feel, touch, and test the newest gadgets. Most importantly, the retail stores heighten the Apple experience, reinforcing the brand and its position as a leading innovator. As a former Dell user, I can attest that the brand actually convinced me to abandon my PC for a sleek Apple laptop.

Porter will need to create a unique vision for Microsoft’s own retail stores and offer something that Apple can’t deliver. Despite being faced with a fierce competitor and a troublesome retail market, this may be Microsoft’s time to step it up and engage customers they way Apple did with me. Who knows? Maybe they can make me a born-again PC user.


1 comment so far

  1. justanotherreview on

    This was a very interesting post. I was unaware that Microsoft had intentions to go after this market. This is a huge challenge for Microsoft that could easily pay off if done correctly and cause “Apple” to take a hit. Apple does have a very unique strategy that is “user-friendly” “hands on” that gets the customers involved. Microsoft should stick with this concept while maintaining the most state of the art/futuristic design possible. I hope to see pictures on the walls that change as customers walk by (Bill Gates has them in his home). Microsoft has my support.

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