Weird Wednesday News: Microsoft Retail Stores Won't Sell Anything
Article by George Norman
On 22 Jul 2009
Recently we reported that alongside the Laptop Hunters ad campaign that touts how PCs better (but mainly cheaper) than Macs, Microsoft gets on Apple’s nerves in other ways – mainly the announcement made by Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner at the Worldwide Partner Conference( WPC) in New Orleans about the fact that the Redmond-based software giant plans to open its own chain of retail stores and they will be positioned right next door to Apple’s stores.

“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,” said Turner at the time.

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As if that wasn’t annoying enough, it has come to light that Microsoft, in an effort to secure prime locations for its retails stores (due this fall) has employed a former Apple real estate chief. I am talking about George Blankenship, who used to work for The Gap, then moved to Apple and now has apparently joined the Microsoft team. He is not a full time employee, but a consultant – thus bypassing the NCA (non-competitive agreement) that all Apple execs sign. Microsoft also recruited former Wal-Mart executive David Porter – his new position with Microsoft is that of Corporate VP of Retail Stores.

Let’s just hope that Microsoft’s retail stores will not copy Apples and will be innovative just as Kevin Turner said at the WPC, because if they turn out to be copycats, that would just be weird.

Speaking of weird, Apple Insider reports that the stores will not actually sell anything: “Although the stores may sit near Apple’s in the future, they’re poised to largely be showcases meant to advertise the Windows, Xbox and Zune brands and less to actually sell products. As such, Microsoft will be paying for expensive leases but won’t necessarily recoup its investment through actual sales.”



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