How Microsoft Gets on Apple's Nerves
Article by George Norman
On 20 Jul 2009
I’m sure that the fact that Microsoft and Apple do not exactly see eye to eye comes as no surprise to anyone – proof of that are the Laptop Hunters and the Get a Mac ads that boast Microsoft’s or Apple’s superiority over the competition. But it seems that Microsoft has officially decided to go ahead with a plan that will get on Apple’s nerves to say the least – open retail stores next door to Apple’s.

Earlier this year the Redmond-based software giant announced that it plans to open Microsoft retail stores in the US, but the company failed to provide more in-depth details. Last week, during the Worldwide Partner Conference WPC) in New Orleans, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner provided two crucial details: these retail stores will be built this autumn, and they will be built right next door to Apple’s retail stores. Turner made sure to explain that the stores will be innovative and will not imitate Apple’s stores.

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An official statement on the subject has been provided by Microsoft: “As we progress on our retail strategy there will be scenarios where we have stores in proximity to Apple. We are on track to open stores in the Fall timeframe. Beyond that we have no additional details to share.”

The statement provided by the Microsoft spokesperson is not as enthusiastic as what Kevin Turner said during the WPC keynote: “And stay tuned, because we’re going to have some retail stores opened up that are opened up right next door to Apple stores this fall. Stay tuned, just stay tuned. Every single thing we learn in those Microsoft stores that we put on the street we're going to share that openly and transparently with all of our retail partners so that they can do the exact same thing. And we're going to get that customer feedback directly. We're in the game for the long-term here. And I know something about retail, and we've hired and incredible team to do an incredible job on retail.”

You might remember that one of the means Apple and Microsoft poke each other is through ads (the Get a Mac and Laptop Hunters ads mentioned above). It seems that Microsoft was successful in getting on Apple’s nerves with the Laptop Hunters ad campaign – so successful that Apple’s legal team contacted Microsoft and demanded the ads be pulled.

“Two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying, 'Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices,” explained Turner. “They took like $100 off or something. It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I've ever taken in business. I did cartwheels down the hallway," Turner continued. "At first I said, 'Is this a joke? Who are you?' We're just going to keep running them and running them and running them.”

The full transcript of Kevin Turner’s speech, from which I’ve pulled these excerpts, is available here.

UPDATE: Prototype layout of the Microsoft retail store here, store logo and first pic here.



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