back to article Microsoft stores to get in Apple's face this autumn

Microsoft will open its promised retail outlets this Autumn right next door to Apple's shops, in what sounds like a Nietzsche-style test of corporate will and destiny. Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer, promised partners Wednesday that the outlets would open in time for Christmas and the back-to-school PC and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still not sure what they're planning on selling

    After all, Microsoft doesn't make computers. Go into an Apple Store and you see the software running on an Apple machine you can buy there and then. Go into a Microsoft store and - ummm...

    They'd be foolish to tie the XBox brand too closely to the rest of Microsoft, part of the console's success is that it's seen as 'cool' - something Microsoft isn't. To a lesser extent Zune benefits from not being seen as a Microsoft product.

    But if the stores are going to concentrate on selling software and improving user skills they're going to be seen as copies of the Apple Store Genius Bars and professional sessions.

    So is this anything more than Microsoft once again deciding it has to compete in a market just because someone else is making money from it?

    Oh well, if nothing else I guess we'll all get to play with Surface.

  2. Bob Gulien

    Nice test, but...

    I really don't know what MS has to show in a retail setting. Maybe a cooperation with hardware partners.

    I have seen the late San Francisco store and I found it wanting.

    But if you've been to an Apple store, you'll know it's hard to beat as an shopping experience and setting their store next to an Apple store is inviting comparisons and I don't know if it will be favourable for MS.

    I think it will be a lemon, just like the Dell store in Manhattan.

    I don't know why MS bothers. It's always miles behind Apple, so why do this?

  3. Leo Maxwell
    Jobs Horns

    I think he got the wrong quote

    The Joker in "Dark knight"

    "I think that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stranger" lol

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't geddit ?

    Bing I can just about understand (although why Microsoft would want to launch a search engine named after a character from deceased sitcom Friends is beyond me).

    But what's going to be be in a Microsoft store apart from endless rows of Office 2010 boxes, an X-box and a tiny Zune section ? It's not like they have Apple's design skill for hardware, unless Microsoft is applying the "Loss Leader" paradigm to the whole concept of retail because they've run out of places to advertise the monopoly unless they start paying Google.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Can I take my Dell in for warranty service?

    MS just doesn't understand...anything. Like the Zune, MSN, MSNBC, X-Box and Vista this will be a money loser. Owning 90% of all PC lemmings won't change the fact that MS stores won't be able to fix other people's hardware. They should open next to Fry's stores if they are going after the PC crowd.


  6. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    I rather like this article ..

    "Wal-Marts are to an inviting and a personally helpful shopping experience what Lindsay Lohan is to a healthy and mutually loving relationship."

    Hahaha. LOL. I like that. Thankfully I learned not to sip coffee when reading El Reg :-)

    Also fun is the following quote:

    "Sounding the warning bells on Oracle's potential acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Turner noted Oracle has a history of raising its prices and keeping customers hostage - facts Microsoft and partners can leverage to win market share."

    Shouldn't that be "facts Microsoft and partners are intimately familiar with"?

    Overall, I share with other commentards (grin) the view that an MS shop cannot have anything sensible to offer. The only thing MS makes that is reasonably decent is keyboards and mice, and even there I found quality migrating south to the benefit of companies like Logitech (I even use the Nano VX mouse for my home PC) and Cherry, that old stalwarth of PC keyboards.

    However, an MS shop will have one MAJOR, MAJOR benefit: you finally have a place to get your Windows refund! And all of that just before Xmas! Yes! With a bit of organising this could be the most epic PR fail ever, even better than Vista and the productivity destroying revamp of Office 2007..

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    One thing in common

    The stores will have one thing in common with the software, they lock up every day :-)

  8. tony


    My 'hard to beat shopping experience' doesn't include jostling for space with students etc updating facebook

  9. Number6


    I think you're being unfair to Lindsay Lohan, she's not that bad!

  10. sandiskboy

    Apple will love it

    If people find an Apple store next to the Microsoft store they will have to go in. Microsoft are simply drawing attention to the competition.

  11. Ron Christian

    Microsoft still doesn't get it

    Sigh. Let's go over this one more time. Repeat after me. People use Microsoft because they HAVE to. People use Apple because they WANT to. Extrapolate from this the market impact of a "Microsoft store".

  12. Dustin 1
    Jobs Horns

    I can't wait to see

    They could have specific hardware for different performance/pricepoints say 3 or 4 laptops and 3 or 4 desktops. They would support only thosein stores and release new models the next year but support the older ones for up to 3 years or what ever the support contract is for. Just like Apple does with thier hardware and easy enough to do. They could also source out repair work to local consulancies. Who knows, well see.

  13. Player_16
    Gates Halo

    Favoritism, Favoritism, Favoritism...

    Referring to AC 23:18, what brand of computer(s) or smart phone(s) are they going to use to show off their products? Expensive or cheap? They gotta show off that Table... and the Xbox.... mouse and keyboards.

    They better have lots of Tables and Xbox's or it's a no-show.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The zillion $ question however is...

    What do Microsoft's retail channel partners think of this move?

    Now that's one hissy fit in the making I reckon.

    Paris knows how to sell it, Ballmer, well that's not quite the same thing...

  15. Joey
    Jobs Halo


    I wonder what MS will have instead of Apple's Geniuses? It's usually something along the lines of "Sounds like a hardware problem to me, contact your device's manufacturer" or "Sorry, you need Windows Professional or Ultimate version to do that!".

  16. Goat Jam
    Thumb Up

    OK, where's my popcorn!

    Of all the upcoming Microsoft Fails this is the one I'm looking forward to the most.

    Mickeysoft stores right next to apple stores?


    The therapeutic shoe shop across the way will see more customers than these clowns once the normal bunch of fanbois and get over their initial novelty interest.

    Or are MS gonna pay people to hang around and say nice stuff about them like they do on the internet?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That'll be the ...

    Like opening a chain of Daewoo dealerships to take on (BMW | Mercedes | Audi). No, I don't own an Apple, just an observation..

  18. Cucumber C Face

    Patch Tuesday?

    Are they are going to have to shut them down and reopen them an hour later once an month?

  19. Bloody_Yank

    Gluttens for Punishment

    At our large shopping mall we have an Apple store - always pretty busy and a happening place. To get there you must pass by a Sony store that is 99% PC focused --- I've never seen more than a dozen folks in there and its a bigger show space. Its pretty dismal.

    I'm no Apple Fan-Boy as they have their own issues (I'm typing this on my old XP box). But its ironic that MS cannot see that they are destined to be a cross between Jabba the Hut and Rodney Dangerfield. Ruthless operators who get no respect. They own 80% of the desktop because of MS Office and the fact that Word and Excel are embedded into the cores of world wide business.

    Dumb adds with Sienfeld and Gates failed to counter the popular I"m a Mac ads. They are a day late and a dollar short on the search engine / web services and they call it ... Bing ? And now they are going to instantly go head to head for the "shopping experience" with Apple who has an established presence and the iPhone and iPods .... WTF ?

    Cheech and Chong had a bit about kamikaze pilots - and upon learning his fate pilot Hashimoto asked ... "Honorable General-son, Are you out of your Fucking Mind ?"

  20. Rod MacLean

    I can just see it now...

    "What do you want to buy sir?"

    "erm, just browsing"

    "Well, we've got MS Office, MS Windows, X-Boxes, Zunes, MS Mice and MS Keyboards. Just let me know when you've made up your mind"

  21. jai


    what are they going to sell? is it just going to be shelves and shelves of Windows7 boxes?

    fail stores will be epic fail, i fear

  22. Torben Mogensen

    What's new?

    As far as I'm concerned, 90% of all computer stores are Microsoft stores already, and have been for two decades.

  23. B Johnson

    I don't see this ending happily

    I can imagine the glee at cupertino about this.

    They didn't need to dig this hole for themselves. They don't understand why people are loyal to apple - it is because their stuff doesn't fall over all the time and they have reached a moderately happy medium in terms of locking stuff to their system.

    I was a microsoft fanboi for a long time, but now I could never go back. No one I know who has any choice over their hardware is using microsoft. It has got to the stage in the NHS that four people out of the seven I work with have spent their own money on buying apple computers to use at work because the consequences of being pwned by the NHS Admins are too horrible. I had a laptop that was just used for presentations and they encrypted my hard drive without asking me/warning me/ giving me the password! Our work network remains riddled with viruses and trojans.

    Perhaps they should set up one of their shops near the London Stock Exchange. That way they could use it to punt some of the Microsoft pre-owned kit that is sadly no longer fit for purpose. No good for Enterprise, no good for consumer. Maybe time to ditch those shares?

  24. John Chadwick

    Microsoft next door to Apple,,,Hmmmm

    A bit like putting TK-Max next door to Harrods or Saks. It'll give all the Apple users a chance to look down their noses at the poor people next door.

    Alternately, you could see it as the Neighbourhood bully aping the smart guy, but not quite getting it right, but thinking hey it doesn't matter, if it doesn't work, I can always punch his lights out.

    Or, you could think, Monkey See, Monkey do, grow up Microsoft, compete by being different and proud to be different, you aren't Apple and never will be, you've put on too much weight and are beginning to look like a middle aged has been who can't quite come to terms with it. Kind of like a teenage parent who keeps buying new cloths to look like their children. Apple have managed to be middle aged and trendy .

    Sadly neither of you know how to treat your customers, but then you're both in good company, with just about any other global company.

  25. Toastan Buttar


    "(although why Microsoft would want to launch a search engine named after a character from deceased sitcom Friends is beyond me)"

    It was named after Craig Ferguson's alter-ego Bing Hitler.

    "It's up to you to turn Bing into a verb."

    Oh, I could think of a few, mostly NSFW.

  26. ThomH

    On thin ice, surely?

    Microsoft, the company that thrives through sales channel partners, is stepping into the sales channel? It's easy for the manifold technology shops on, e.g. Tottenham Court Road, to differentiate themselves from the Apple Store over on Regent Street — what's the likely effect if they're suddenly trying to differentiate themselves from a Microsoft shop?

    That said, I'm probably being naive. Since when did any of those shops try to differentiate themselves?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    More "me too" stuff

    Innovation is when you do it first. It is not imitating competitors work years after your competitors do it. Microsoft marketing department seems to be asleep at the wheel and when they do wake up , its usually too late.

    BTW when I grew up in Scotland during the coal and oil shale mining days we had a word for where they got rid of all the rubbish from the mines. It was called a BING. So why not just "Bing" this latest idea ...

  28. Wonko the Sane

    Apple vs Crapshoot

    Could MS do a deal with the usual crowd of flacks, i.e., HP, Dell, etc. and put their machines loaded with the usual MS crapware in their stores? Between the large number of MS running machines out there and the problems continually plaguing them, it might be that MS stores are inundated with business of the form: it runs too slow and hiccups a lot, fix it.

  29. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!

    Paranoia cha cha cha

    Wtf, so Microsoft is the new wallmart/starbucks, This guy sounds like a megalomaniac, "The importance of growing our market share" to what extent?

    How big do MS want to be, competition is good, lets keep it that way, I'll never give them another penny. And there was me thinking about getting a zune.

    Why can't MS stop stealing the ideas of others?

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Sod off, mac boys

    Note to the fanboys (Ironic sigh, rolls eyes, balls fists, flexes biceps) - not everybody who uses a PC does so because they HAVE too.

    I have to use a mac at work, periodically (once or twice a week) and I FUCKING hate it.

    And my experience of Apple's 'Geniuses' is that they are either terminally trendy or they really are a Genius - complete with lack of social skills, bad hair and foul breath - they really are the sort of people who live with their parents until they are 40

  31. Chandleo

    Why why why!?

    hmmmm, 'We'd like to term Bing into a verb' - so basically trying to copy Google with their failure of a search engine which is now on it's third name!?

    and creating deeper engagement, competing is personal, competing is here, this is our battle cry blah blah blah, for the love of all thing's holy it's only opening a shop!

    Still trying to understand how they think opening a shop next door to their designer shop looking competitors, espsecially when their own efforts are being designed by somebody who ran Asda!, do they really think this is a good idea!?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Life without walls?

    Given their recent slogan, perhaps the innovative factor for these stores is that they will have no walls ... Or, er, Windows either because you can't have windows without walls. Erm, perhaps it'll be Office ... but you need walls for one of those too. Vista? You don't need walls for a vista. Yay, they can try to sell Vista again!

  33. Bilgepipe


    The decor will be Zune Brown. Or beige. I wonder whose computers will be in there?

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Sod off, mac boys, @AC

    >I have to use a mac at work, periodically (once or twice a week) and I FUCKING hate it.

    What's to hate?

    You remind me of someone I knew back in the 80s and 90s who just couldn't get the hang of the newfangled GUI on the Mac. But as soon as M'soft released Win3.1 he just loved it -- had no problem getting the hang of it.

    I'm guessing you just love Vista though, don't you.

  35. Froglord

    @Life without walls

    So, if they aren't going to have any walls, and they're positioning themselves next to the Apple Store, doesn't that make them part of the Apple Store? Are they going to claim squatters rights?

  36. Julian 4

    Turn Bing into a verb - or adjective...

    Or better still, a comical expletive. As in...

    "Couldn't find it eh? - what a bingger!"

    "Grief mate, you really bingged out on that one didn't you?"

    "What a mess - it's an attack of the Bings!"

    "Bing today, gone tomorrow."

    "It's the Bing from hell!" (unsolicited search / useless tech advice / intrusion)

    Bing is just so divvy... I really don't know how anyone can take it seriously, ESCape now ;-)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sticker Shock

    Can't wait for people to walk into the stores, pick up a retail copy of Windows 7 or Office and realise they're going to have to shell out the best part of £200 (or more) - yeah, I can see this catching on...

  38. AchimR
    Thumb Up

    @B Johnson:

    "Perhaps they should set up one of their shops near the London Stock Exchange."

    Think I'd make it my daily task during lunchbreak then to go over and have a good laugh at the shop :D

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Re: Sod off, mac boys, @AC

    Seeing the "What's to hate?" comment reminds me of a few funny situations I've experience since buying a MacBook about a year ago. What's wrong with hating or being critical of the system you are using exactly? How about the fact that the Dock in OS X is useless in many people's eyes?

    I love the way as soon as someone mentions that the Mac is not a perfect user experience, the Apple tards just flip out - the single worst thing about owning a Mac is that you literally can't criticise anything about the OS - which is terrible if you are posting comments or questions on forums. If something doesn't work on a Mac, it is not the operating system's fault, it's that you are wrong for thinking it should work like that. I could give 100 examples of idiots saying stuff like: "the Delete key should not delete files, this makes no sense whatsoever" - or, as a solution to a question posted about files getting lost when moving them onto network drives, one Mac loser said "there's a simple solution to this: never move a file".

    Actually while I am at it, here are a few more I remember:

    -a response to a post about an Apple computer failing, a reply from one person was "you're lying! I doubt very much this is your personal experience."

    -I've come across forums that delete criticisms of Apple (these are forums set up by Mac users for Mac users - shows you the mentality you are dealing with). I've heard of accounts being deleted because negative comments were posted by said account.

    -On a comment made by someone where an error was experienced during a copy and paste procedure, both the destination files AND the sources files were corrupted: the reply was "What kind of a freak is going to unplug their firewire cable during a file move operation".

    And many, many more. In fact, it's happened to me so many times I decided to never by an Apple again. At least with Windows and Microsoft stuff you are allowed to be critical.

  40. Richard 102

    One thing bothers me

    Well, okay, several things do. But WRT this, I don't see the point.

    I was skeptical when Apple opened their stores, but I could see the point. The shopping experiences in Apple retailers wasn't good. The local outfit was fine, but in other places I'd lived/visited, it was like pulling hen's teeth to get questions asked, to try out the latest equipment or models, etc. The big box retailers were, if anything, worse. Often you'd go into CompUSSR and the Macs were old models, broken, and generally looked like they'd been treated like an ex-husband. Meanwhile, the sales people were on commission from HP, Dell, etc, and would steer customers away from any Apple product.

    So Apple having the stores, where you could see the latest and greatest hardware and software, with friendly trained staff and a genius bar to answer your questions, made sense. The customer channels weren't doing their job. IIRC, they hired someone from The Gap to create the sort of store that was inviting and enhanced the purchasing/browsing experience. Apple stores are inviting, well laid-out, and aren't crammed with product. They are sometimes crammed with customers, but hey, nice problem to have, right?

    MS has hired an executive from WalMart. Before the economic issues, WalMart was in trouble because people were getting fed up with their experience their (long lines, no layaway, unhelpful staff, etc) that they were willing to pay more to go elsewhere. And WalMart's customer base isn't one that is generally willing to spend more money for the same product. So I don't expect the shopping experience to be on par with Apple's.

    And this isn't even getting into what MS is saying to Best Buy, HP, Dell, Sony, etc; what products they're going to display; or how MS is more business-oriented than consumer-oriented. They may succeed, but I have more serious doubts about this than I did about Apple's foray into retail. Then again, no one asked me.

  41. Steven Hunter

    @AC 13:32

    "...(these are forums set up by Mac users for Mac users - shows you the mentality you are dealing with)..."

    OK, this made me laugh and shake my head.

    Just who in the hell would you expect to setup Mac user forums? PC users? Linux developers? Professional dog walkers? Your mother?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Sod off, mac boys, @AC #

    > I love the way as soon as someone mentions that the Mac is not a perfect user experience, the

    > Apple tards just flip out - the single worst thing about owning a Mac is that you literally can't

    > criticise anything about the OS

    Not aware that anyone flipped out. AC said he hated it. I was curious about what part he hated?

    My example friend just hated that it was Apple, and better than his DOS/Win3.0 GUI. Couldn't bring himself to say so though, so he whined/whinged about how unintuitive the GUI was, and outed himself as a liar when the equally (un)intuitive Win3.1 GUI was deemed brilliant by him.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    @Steven Hunter

    I meant the mentality of people deleting the comments and accounts, I obviously did not mean the fact that Mac users created forums for Mac users. I meant that these Mac zealots cannot take criticism to the point where genuine dialogue and criticism is censored. That is the mentality I was speaking of, so you can hold back the your mother comments, thanks.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    MS sell quite a bit of hardware

    They make some very good keyboards, mice and joysticks, and I'm guessing they'll be showing cool 3rd party hardware that showcases their stuff, whether laptops or hand-helds, and yes, they will probably also have an xbox peripherals section. Plus, of course, media centre home entertainment kit and 'living room' PCs, Windows 7 and Office productiveity, and programming software for SMEs. In fact, the problem is likely to be how you coherently portray such a broad range of products, when next door Apple are only selling two sizes of MP3 player and 3 sizes of laptop along little rows of desks in a clinical white chapel of love. I think the MS store will resemble a branch of Dixons suffering from MS branded monomania, but at least it will have a variety of products...

  45. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 10:08 GMT

    'Ironic sigh, rolls eyes, balls fists, flexes biceps' Ha ha! Don't make me laugh! You've been spending to much time in World of Warcraft! Grow up, it's a fucking shop...

  46. Anonymous Coward

    AC 12:28

    Evidently Windows zealots cannot take criticism either. I can honestly say I have never seen this level of pathetic before. It's a shop. They don't even exist yet. Everyone knows the Jobs quote about Microsoft, but for the benefit of those that don't;

    'The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste, and what that means is - I don't mean that in a small way I mean that in a big way. In the sense that they they don't think of original ideas and they don't bring much culture into their product... I guess I am saddened, not by Microsoft's success - I have no problem with their success, they've earned their success for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third rate products.'

    The irony is when Microsoft do actually innovate (the ribbon bar in Office is genuinely a masterstroke of intuition and usability), you all hate it! I guess lack of taste is something Microsoft shares with its customer base. All I can visualise when someone mentions a Microsoft store is a dark (blue for some reason) poorly lit (yellow neon) cramped store with nothing in it.

    Mac users *can* take criticism, and if you could be bothered to actually read Mac forums, you'll see plenty of people having a moan about Apple and their products, as well as a heck of a lot of praise. It's impossible to have sensible discussions with Windows zealots because the minute Mac is mentions, abuse is thrown. We get told we don't know what we're talking about, and the usual FUD and rhetoric is spouted. We have to put up with posts like "Sod off, mac boys" and "Re: Sod off, mac boys, @AC (In response to the second, do you not think anyone has seen EXACTLY the same from Windows zealots? Cry me a fuckin' river...) On this, and every other site I get called names and I'm condemned as being an iDiot (ok, that is quite good!) before I've spoken, because I CHOSE the iPhone over Nokia/Windows Mobile, because I CHOSE the Mac OS over Windows. Why? Because IT WORKS FOR ME! I couldn't give a shit if you or you mate "down the pub" reckons it's any good or not! I don't give a shit if you think I've "got more money than sense" (on that, compare metaphorical apples with apples. Not with lemons...)! That's the beauty of a free market. I get to choose and so do you. So please, quit your fucking paranoid whining and let go the ridiculous persecution complex (MSFT have at least 85% share! It's not as if Apple even compete on a level playing field!!!) and dry your eyes...

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