back to article Microsoft plans to open 75 retail stores in US

Microsoft is re-hatching its plan to accelerate retail store expansion in the US before turning its sights on the rest of the world. Microsoft's planned new stores Store locator: Microsoft's retail expansion in the next three years The first iteration came in 1999, when Microsoft set up a shop in San Francisco – but …


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  1. DPWDC

    Stand by

    For Apple launching legal action - "selling stuff in shops is OUR idea".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Stand by

      For moronic softie fanbois making moronic comments being upvoted by morons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Humourless polo-neck clad fanboys not being able to take what was actually quite a good joke.

        Then again, if I had paid that much for my computer, I wouldn't be able to afford a sense of humour either. Oh, wait, I did and it turns out that I still have a sense of humour.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          RE: And...

          one of the upvoting morons speaks! Look, it'd be funny if it was original. It's not either. End of. What is funny is that people like you will call Apple users sheep, yet you moronically bray at the same tired clichés. Both Nokia and Microsoft have at least as many legal disputes and ridiculous patent applicatians, but you idiots still bang the same drum. You are boring.

          1. Frank 2

            Sorry but...

            how is the joke meant to go?

            Stand by for Nokia launching legal action - "selling stuff in shops is OUR idea".

            not as funny and I've never seen a Nokia shop anyway so it doesn't work.

            Lighten up... IT'S A JOKE!!!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Master of spin at work

    Quote: "Turner quipped [] that should tell all of you a lot about the importance of having a great OS."

    Not really - the truth is more like, "that should tell all of you a lot about the realities of competing with a monopoly", or, "that should tell all of you a lot about how consumer choice suffers when the market is owned by a single company".

    1. Arctic fox

      Actually no.

      What it *does* say is that it is pretty sad that Apple cannot (in that particular market) sell their hardware unless it is loaded with Windows (Or "Windoze", "Micro$oft Shite" or what ever form of howling/screaming you prefer).....hmmm?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Arctic Fox

        Yep, of the Mac users I know who have Intel Macs (mine is PPC) they all have Windows installed as a VM.

        Odd that Apple won't let Mac OS be sold as an OS for a standard PC. We all know it works on standard PCs, with trivial tweaking. I would even accept a cut down supported hardware list, I'd just quite like to run a recent Mac OS on a VM.

        1. Arctic fox

          @Anonymous Coward

          "Odd that Apple won't let Mac OS be sold as an OS for a standard PC."

          Yes, I have yet to see a convincing explanation other than than one or both of the following:

          1. Apple do very good business from their hardware sales and wish to discourage customers just buying the os and doing their own thing with regard to the hardware.

          2. They do not want a situation where straight sales of OSX per se could be compared with straight sales of Windows. (By straight sales I mean full version machine independent. Not pre-loaded, that would give Windows an unfair advantage in the comparison).

          I am inclined to place more weight on the first of the two.

          1. crashtest

            And a third...

            Have you thought about the Windows (and linux in a different way) hardware driver madness?

            MAC OSX uses very specific hardware for which they have perfected the drivers. Allowing the OS to work on arbitrary combinations of hardware, would force them to go through the tedious process of driver verification (WHQL?) not to mention that as a BSD system it would require a new [custom] kernel for every hw modification.

            Limited hardware is a great way to minimize OS bugs (hence increase stability) and Apple is not going to give that away any time soon.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Dude, I love the strapline

    Oh the irony, the bitter irony. How sad is the fanbois camped out thing.

  4. Southern

    Accelerate our stores?

    I took this to mean strapping a dirty great big rocket booster (surplus from NASA shuttle program, of course) to a bricks and mortar MS branded shop, point it in the right direction (Apple's campus) and hit the launch button.

  5. jake Silver badge

    On the bright side ...

    I seriously doubt WinFanBois will be spilling out the doors, blocking the rest of us trying to get from outlet to outlet in the local MegaMall, unlike the MacFanBois ... all of whom seem to perpetually need help with their so-called "easy to use" consumer gear.

    But only because WinFanBois don't realize that when it doesn't work, it's b0rken ... most of 'em seem to think that's how computers work. Or don't, as the case may be.

    ::sighs:: Consumers. Idiots, the lot of 'em.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Glad to see...

      Glad to see you're up to your usual standard Jake - Everyone is an idiot except you, yes?

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 19:15

        No. I was talking about the people who habitually purchase "the latest", for no reason other than because some marketing company told them to. I know many people who have several generations of iPhone, each of which they have to pay for monthly, thanks to the contract they agreed to upon purchase. Likewise, I know many people who routinely throw away Windows machines when they slow to a crawl (thanks to the malware du jour), and plunk yet another US$400 on another machine at Staples (or whatever) to replace it.

        Do you really find that an intelligent way to run a railroad, AC?

        Side note: I'm jake, not Jake; Jake's another person. Computers tend towards the literal, if you hadn't noticed. HTH, HAND.

  6. Refugee from Windows

    Non fruity hardware

    With that you'd be hard pressed to get anything other than their product preloaded and counted as a sale. Even if you install something else, just cos they've sold a nice sticker, they've scored.

    Are they anticipating serious competition then? Chrome OS, Android or another?

    Make as much sense as the water company opening stores - you've not really got much choice have you?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      So what exactly do they intend to sell in these stores?

      Microsoft don't make any PC hardware, just some peripherals and games consoles.

      I'm pretty sure that MS partners would not take kindly to MS making "Microsoft" PC hardware, and would look even more dimly on MS selling Dell, HP etc computers for less than their existing sales channels. Unless MS somehow handed them a better margin, which seems kinda unlikely as PC hardware margins are pretty tiny to being with.

      So what will be in these stores? A line-up of Dell, HP etc hardware that's all available elsewhere for less money?

      1. deadlockvictim

        MS products

        Well, off the top of my head there are:

        • Microsoft mice, keyboards, joysticks (or whatever they're called these days)

        • games for Windows and the X-Box

        • the abovementioned X-Box

        • software such as Windows, Office, SQL Server

        • books from Microsoft Press

        • the ever popular Zune [1]

        • chairs

        and the Steve Ballmer songbook (with the popular 'Developers! Developers! Developers!' in it)


        1. Anonymous Coward


          Will I be able to find the whole course, in paper? Will they sell a trolley with it?

          Are there Microsoft (tm) chairs?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Mice etc are other peoples products rebranded, games are written by other companies. I've never seen a queue for MS software. Is it a new phenomena? Who buys a MS book?( I didn't know they could write!) What's a Zune?

          I see that PC world/ Best Buy are losing money, is this yet another MS "good idea"?

          However, I was very impressed by last week's visitor's ipad which couldn't find the network printer. Puts it on the same pedestal as this version of XP which keeps losing all of them also. Tends to give the Ubuntu/Mandriva boxes a bad name as they seem to find ALL the printers without trouble and then cause problems by asking which one you want them to use.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AC 18:18

            There were massive queues for Windows 95. I believe there were queues for Kinnect as well.

        3. Captain DaFt

          You forgot one!

          Remainder bins piled high with Kins!

      2. JEDIDIAH

        PC stores...

        I dunno. Stores that sell PCs in general seem to have a bit less focus. The old school computer store is nowhere to be seen anymore. Mom and Pop speciality shops are getting harder to find. Most stores that do sell PCs anymore are more general purpose stores where PCs can kind of get lost in the corner somewhere.

        A more specialized setup might not be such a bad idea actually. Hard to say if it would work out for PCs though with a similar setup to the Apple store since PCs have thinner margins.

        The margins on Apple kit can absorb the absurd rents you pay in some malls.

        Although such a concept might already be past it's time...

        1. Nick Pettefar


          What on earth are "Mom and Pop speciality shops"? They don't sound either relevant or even legal! Is that one of those Americunisms I read about on the Beeb? Can someone explain please?

          One can hope that a MS shop will have employees that know something about what they are selling (whatever it is) unlike the employees in PC World, Staples, Dixons, etc. The Apple shops I have been to, either direct or 3rd-party, have been quite good in this respect.

      3. Handle this!

        Just imagine.. demos of songsmith

      4. Captain TickTock


        Oh yeah, baby!

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Watch for Winhoze phones being sold Carphone Warehouse style via MVNO or "with which carrier do you want it and do you want chips with that".

  7. Adrian Esdaile

    Can't wait to see the huge queues

    That stretch almost to the other side of the front door!

    (not an Apple fanboi either, just think it won't exactly be a stunning success)

    1. fandom


      Whenever the launch the next Xbox they could very well get a huge line

      1. RichyS


        "Whenever the launch the next Xbox they could very well get a huge line"

        Indeed. Of people returning their broken RRoD consoles.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They're opening a store in the middle of Wyoming (largest city Cheyenne - population 60,000), but not in neighbouring Colorado (largest city Denver - population 2.5 million)?

    This can only make sense if bison are big Windows users.

    1. Jim Coleman


      Talking of bison, do you know what the difference is between a bison and a buffalo?

      You can't wash your hands in a buffalo.

      I'm here all week etc etc.

  9. HP Cynic


    So there previous forays into "Retail Stores" were less than a success and they are diving in with 75 new shops?

    I've never been to an Apple Store but appreciate that they sell shiny, new HARDware. They are little more than toyshops for adults (not adult toy shops you understand).

    Unless MS has similar toys to shift they are going to struggle, boxes containing an OS are just not as enticing. Also you only have to buy Windows again every few years whereas Apple sells the same device with a few tweaks annually - forever ensuring they are only just out of date when they hit the shelves.

    MicroSoft Certified equivalent to the "Geniuses" might be fairly useful though...

    1. CmdrX3

      not adult toy shops you understand....

      Don't know about that. I know a few fans that almost jizz in their boxers at the mere mention of Apple, never mind playing with any of their hardware.

  10. TeeCee Gold badge

    Camp outside? Never happen.

    I've yet to see a Windows geek who reckons that getting the latest version is worth losing valuable potential beer moments for.

    Must be an Apple thing......

    1. kain preacher


      Windows 95 was released at midnight and I remember people lined up, Ok so it happened once 16 years ago.

      1. RichyS
        Thumb Up

        Re. Win95

        Yup. Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry from Friends (remember that?) seemed pretty keen too:

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Windows "Guru/Swami/Yogi/Genius Bar" queue

    If these stores have 90% of their space filled with a loooong Windows & Office helpdesk, you'll see lines going around the block. I've spent hundreds of hours helping family & friends on Windows problems and questions. It's gotten really old...

    Here's the latest one: "Where's the black-on-black plastic WIFI switch on my Dell laptop?"

    Really? Having a software control in the task bar for toggling WIFI is too innovative for Windows PC OEMs...? Or at least, use contrasting colors for the hard switch, if you don't feel like copying OSX.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Personally I like a physical switch for some things, you really know it's off then. I wouldn't want to go on a plane with wifi switched off by a software toggle, I have also seen my linux box have wifi on when I thought it was off because the LED wasn't implemented in the driver.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        I'm with Anon here - I love my black-on-black WiFi switch.

        An actual physical two-position switch is *perfect* for enabling WiFi and other radio modules.

        In fact, the switch on the side of this Dell is great - WiFi symbol, red mark to show the "Off" position, and nice and big with a satisfying Click! when it's switched.

        The tactile response of "Click!" OFF and "Click!" ON! is orders of magnitude better than a software tickybox somewhere, or some weird key combo like on my previous laptop.

        A software tickybox is even harder to find, and might not even exist or work at all if your drivers aren't perfect. Plus you can't turn that on or off while doing something else (eg fullscreen application, sat in a VM or whatever)

        Finally, when I'm connecting into a secure wired network, I like knowing that I'm not going to accidentally bridge to the insecure WiFi, becuase there's a physical switch on the side that's disabled the WiFi *in hardware*. No malicious software is going to be able to flick that switch!

  12. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Quick trademark "Retard Bar"

    A big queue of people queuing up to be told - have you tried rebooting?

    1. Paul 129
      Black Helicopters

      OOoooo Re-booting

      I laughed at first, then realised You'd need to be payed serious danger money to work there....

      Icon - Its not a hellicopter, its what will be left of you after the rebooting

  13. Dana W


    "Now, that should tell all of you a lot about the importance of having a great OS"

    Microsoft has a great OS? Where are they hiding it?

  14. Buzzword

    Start Me Up

    Does nobody remember the midnight queues lined up to buy Windows 95? That was when Microsoft had respect and admiration; Apple was on its knees; and Linux was just a hobbyists toy. How things change.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Respect and admiration?

      You are kidding right? Windows was already seen as a joke by the serious IT community. There was even a parody version of that song at the time, by Bob Rivers (frequently attributed to Weird Al)

      Here's a nice video of it:

  15. Neil Charles

    I thought they were opening Microsoft stores...

    ... in people's kitchens?

  16. envmod


    seriously - what the hell are people going to buy in there? microsoft haven't got anything to sell to the average joe apart from the office suite - and nobody actually buys that do they?

    1. MIc

      nope... no one

      its just a multi billion $$ biz based on fairy tails.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "based on fairy tails"

        What about Manx fairies ?. (Hint google Manx cat and look-up the proper spelling of fairy tales)

  17. MIc

    What you get in an MS Store

    You can buy a new PC from OEMs like Dell and HP WITHOUT all the crap add on software where they are "trying" to add value by upselling you crap you don't need.

    You get a nice PC with trimmed down Windows 7 which runs much smoother and is less noisey.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Will they speak English at those stores?

    If the MS staff quotes in this article are anything to go by, the answer is no.

    The seriously want to "think like their customers?" I have some information for them: the majority of us do not speak Microsoft corporate-jargon bollocks.

  19. Peter 39

    Problem is ...

    Problem is that Microsoft does not understand what business it is in.

    You open a whole pile of stores, as Apple has done, because ...

    1. you have compelling products that people want to buy, and

    2. you're not getting acces to those people.

    Microsoft sells primarily to companies, not individual consumers. They're selling we-can-do-it-all infrastructure stuff and Volume Licensing.

    Stores in malls are about selling product directly to individuals. To make that work you must have compelling products that those individuals want to touch, try and buy. Sad to say, Microsoft's track record here varies between abysmal and OK. The only "OK" I can recall is Xbox (no flames please - I'm not a gamer) but it seems to have done decently despite the RRoD problems. Kinect is interesting also but I see that as an accessory rather than a product, so I'm not counting it here. For abysmal, the list includes Kin; for bad it's probably Zune.

    For Microsoft to open more stores will ...

    1. cost a bunch of money

    2. expose just how weak their product portfolio really is

    Microsoft is trying to generate "Apple buzz" by mimicking Apple's stores. It doesn't work that way. There has to be something that people want to buzz about, and Microsoft just doesn't have it. I'm not sure it ever will but it certainly doesn't look like "soon".

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But Rule #1 of imitation is that you have to do it better than the original (or at least as well in some circumstances). That won't happen here.

    I think that Microsoft's Board or Directors has taken leave of its senses. There's no strategy to follow the success of the Win/Office franchise and they have Steve Ballmer in place to execute. Bad plan, folks. Bad plan.

  20. JDX Gold badge

    @buzzword, metavisor

    Linux weirdos have hated Windows for ages. Linux is still an OS for weirdos, as far as the PC goes. Apple is still a minority OS, propped up by their hardware. Inevitably iPhone will become replaced by something else cool and Apple will implode to a remnant... all this web stuff might or might not kill MS but Apple are screwed the moment iPhone isn't #1 phone.

  21. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    For people who camp out in front of the store....

    I never purchase software which is less than (1) year old or is at revision 0. Why do people insist on doing unpaid beta testing for Microsoft. Some even PAY Microsoft to speak with them to tell them about their bugs.

    When considering a software upgrade, I consider what the cost is, what it will do for me, and how many hours I will need to fight with it to make it work i.e. Apple's latest update 10.6.8 wrecks a lot of applications and only provides a mechanism to install 10.7.0. I declined. See how easy that was?

  22. Peter Holroyd

    Addressing the consumerisation!!!

    Turner said Redmond's 11 outlets in the US were giving it a better handle on "addressing the consumerisation of IT"

    How can even Microsoft have missed the consumerisation that has been happening over the past few years. They still want 3 years to catch on to what is happening. Well Mr Ballmer and Mr Turner, here's letting you into a secret - you never will catch on will you.

    I completely agree with Peter 39's comments - words out of my mouth

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but...

      Microsoft won the "consumerisation of IT" battle long, long ago. Although there are still IT directors who find it hard to admit, it was not their decision that put Windows PCs on desktops: it was the demand of the people sitting at those desktops. If anyone doesn't believe me, just try putting a dumb terminal on one of your worker's desks, and see how they react.

      Back in the day, we knew that applications running on servers were easy to configure, easy to maintain, easy to make available to those who ran them. When we had a problem, we had to sort it out on just one machine, not a dozen. We soon found out that the same symptom, on Windows, could have a dozen different causes (or, often we never even found out the cause, just gritted our teeth and did another re-install or image restore), but the users were watching the ads and reading the glossies. WYSIWYG and wallpaper was the order of the day, and they would never (even though they could have Lotus 1-2-3 and Wordperfect) never ever go back to their terminals.

      Yes, the next, and subsequent chapters might have been negotiating those licences with the IT director. Maybe even MS themselves have lost touch and forgotten that, in the beginning, it was the ordinary end user that laid down the foundation for their monopoly. If they don't know how "those people think" now, then they must have forgotten, which would be a very stupid thing to do.

  23. Peter Holroyd

    Win/Office - Wince for short

    Have Microsoft got a strategy to replace Win/Office. If they have then perhaps they have named it the Wince strategy. Anyone else got an apt name for Microsoft's strategy going forwards?

  24. Mark Simon

    The difference ...

    One thing which has always distinguished Apple from Microsoft is its appeal. Apple promotes itself as fun and easy and arty. Nobody would accuse Microsoft of that. I can’t see Microsoft retail stores having the same atmosphere or the same clientele.

    But who knows ... ?

  25. Richard Porter

    Great OS?

    No, it's not a great OS - it's just that you need it to run some apps that have only been written for Windows because a lot of innocents bought it in the early days. It's no more a great OS than VHS was a great video technology.

  26. Richard Porter

    re. Problem is

    Apart from X-box Microsoft doesn't actually have any shiny hardware to sell. The shops could only push other people's hardware that's loaded with Windows, plus application software and that puts it into direct competition with its dealers. Apple, on the other hand, has lots of sexy products that people want, that have a high profit margin and that the high street box shifters have largely ignored.

  27. NemoWho

    Izzat So?

    I worked in a ComputerLand here in the states in 1985.

    Guess what? Not an Apple ][ in sight. Ten-packs of floppies for more money than I'm happy to recall... go Verbatim!!

    Selling stuff in shops indeed....

  28. bumpy

    What's in the shop?

    There's a Microsoft retail store in a mall near me (and not too many miles from 1 Microsoft Way itself). Just a few doors down from the Apple store. Pure coincidence, I'm sure! The MS store has quite a variety of things for sale - MS software, Windows phones, XBox hardware and games, desktops and laptops (mainly Dell), and MS schwag (stress ball anyone?). When I last popped in it was just as busy as the Apple store. They look similar, but not the same. Lots of black&white and metal in the Apple store, lots of glass and primary colors in the MS store. I'm guessing some of the stores will do well, but they certainly have a long row to hoe.

  29. me n u

    hmmm, let's see

    ""It's helping us to transition from thinking about our customers to thinking like our customers"

    -I doubt that. That would mean you hate yourself. If so, seek counseling.

    "And giving us that direct customer feedback is what we're learning and getting from our stores,"

    -Proof they don't read their own blogs (too much contempt)

    "We're going to open up 75 more stores over the next two to three years"

    -So, which is it, 2 or 3? Damn decisions! Wow! 75 stores, no doubt sprinkled around the M$ campus.

    "continue to bring our stores outside the US as well"

    -Spread the ill-will overseas as well

    "he was "shocked" to discover an Apple dealer flogging Windows 7 on Mac hardware."

    -So the Apple dealer was tasering and flogging Windows 7 on top of Mac hardware...kinky!

    "Now, that should tell all of you a lot about the importance of having a great OS. Even the Apple franchise stores think so,"

    -Linux distributors everywhere thank you for the compliments. And yes, even Apple franchise stores think Linux is great.

  30. Christian Berger

    One advantage will be....

    That whenever some M$-Fanboy asks you yet again for Windows support, you can now direct them to the nearest Microsoft store.

    Well about the books they sell. They are actually not to bad, but they clearly show how little effort Microsoft is putting into their software products. For example Menu entries in Windows need to be translated by the application. So if you want to have a multilingual application, you need to have a list of words and phrases translated into major languages. On most modern platforms you have some sort of locale system to get those phrases from a platform maintained database. Microsoft actually has such a database and they print it in one of their $400 books. It would have been trivial for them to ship it with their OS, but they refuse to do so.

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