How Microsoft Gets on Apple's Nerves: Update
Article by George Norman
On 27 Jul 2009
Recently we reported that Microsoft does not like Apple all that much (go figure) and to show it off it announced, through the voice of Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, that it plans to open its own line of retail stores – right next door to Apple’s retails stores. The stores, as Kevin Turner stated, would be opened this autumn; and we since found out that Microsoft has employed former Apple employee George Blankenship to secure prime locations for its retails stores. We also found out that Microsoft’s retails stores would apparently be nothing more that showcases where the Redmond-based software giant would show off its products, the retails stores would reportedly not actually sell anything.

And now here is an update on the story: Gizmondo has a leaked PowerPoint presentation (by design and brand strategy consultant firm Lippicott) that sheds some light on how the retails stores will look – and what you will be able to do there. For example, you will be able to pay to celebrate your birthday in one of Microsoft’s retail stores.

According to Gizmondo, here are the highlights of the upcoming Microsoft retail stores:
- Digital Media Wall: a screen that wraps around the whole store and displays various messages.
- Plenty of Surface demos.
- Stage areas for Windows 7, Windows Media Center, Windows Mobile and netbooks.
- The Answer Bar, Microsoft’s take on the Genius Bar. Also named Guru Bar and Windows Bar.
- Apple Store-style table layouts.
- An interestingly looking Microsoft shopping bag.


Moving on, one other way Microsoft got on Apple’s nerves was through its Laptop Hunters ad campaign. While Kevin Tuner announced the upcoming Microsoft retails stores, he also announced that Apple’s legal team contacted Microsoft and demanded the ads be pulled. The ads have not been pulled, but Apple did get Microsoft to change something – mainly the ad featuring Lauren and her mom.

Initially, the ad depicted Lauren and her mom as they go out looking for a laptop. Lauren says she wants a laptop with “speed, portability and battery life” for under $1,700 and she eventually gets a Dell XPS 13 for little under $1,000. When she looks at a Mac she says “This Mac is $2,000, and that's before adding anything” and her mom asks “Why would you pay twice the price?”

That was in the initial ad – Microsoft has modifiedit and now there is no mention of how much Macs cost. Instead she just says “It seems like you're paying a lot for the brand.” You can watch the edited version here, and the original version here.

“We slightly adjusted the ads to reflect the updated pricing of the Mac laptop shown in the TV advertisement. This does not change the focus of the campaign, which is to showcase the value and choice of the PC,” explained Microsoft in a statement.

UPDATE: The logo of the Microsoft store has become official, see here.

Tags: Microsoft, Retail Stores, Apple, Laptop Hunters
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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