Attack of the iClones: Microsoft Literally Copies the Apple Store

Microsoft has opened their first Microsoft Store, and kudos to them for that. However, we can't help but feel that by literally copying an Apple Store to the degree that only the signage and products are swapped out, Microsoft cost consumers a chance to experience something different, something innovative, and something that would have continued to push the retail part of the computer and smartphone industry.

Same decor, Gurus in lieu of Geniuses, colored shirts, even the same opening festivities. Gruber's right:

It’s creepy, as in like stalker-ish creepy, just how blatantly they’ve copied Apple.

Stepford.

[Thanks @justin_horn horn for the tip!]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Attack of the iClones: Microsoft Literally Copies the Apple Store

114 Comments

P.A.T.H.E.T.I.C
Actually, I don't know whats more pathetic, this copying or when the store has barely any customers stopping by lol

Wow, I heard about this but didn't expect they would copy the Apple Store exactly! I wonder how many people will walk in and immediately leave when they realizing that this is NOT the Apple Store.

I love how all the windows lovers comment on everything but let's see there snappy come backs for this. Windows lovers are a bunch of hacks!

That's so microsoft. So any company that's not number one but microsoft is really
stepping the line. I mean there's gotta be some sort of lawsuit for this. Apple has 30 billion dollars on hand. They can win that suit

How embarassing. How can a company like this be proud of their "work?" all that company is now is a bunch of thieves. Shameful.

Did you guys hear that Burger King has a drive through.. I think they copied Mcdonalds.. who cares about this stuff.. honestly. The store store looks the same.. they are after the same type of consumer(kind of).. so it makes sense.. an exact copy is weird.. but this isn't really news.. my bank looks similar to the one down the road.. oh no...

Mainstream consumers aren't going to be able to tell, nor will they care. If it's a proven, working model, why not copy it? It happens in every other industry.
I love how Apple fanboys take everything so personally, like Microsoft just murdered their family or something. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, guys. Besides, you're not scared by a little competition are you?

At least parents will have two stores to pick from when dropping their tweens off for some myspace action while they (parents) shop at the mall... :) (I don't think you can do that any more, didn't Apple block a lot of the internet from store computers?)

@Tim:

I love how Apple fanboys take everything so personally,

Plus One.
Apple opens store: Fanboys gush.
Microsoft does same thing: How lame and unimaginative.
Do you suppose they even have a clue how childish and juvenile they look?

@Tim / @icebike:

I love how Apple fanboys take everything so personally, like Microsoft just murdered their family or something.

I don't know... I seem to remember most of the pro-Apple people here laughing and making fun of that Apple Store Grand Opening video too. They're both kinda scary if you ask me. ;)

Is it just me or has that shop got no products in it!? Might as well be an internet cafe.

I'm sure Oscar Wilde said it best.
"Talent borrows, genius steals"
I'm going to go all caps for this...
IT'S A DAMN BUSINESS!
This is what you do, take what's successful, emulate it. Get off your high horses and stop acting like Apple never copied off anyone in their entire life and they are just THE innovative thing in the world. Damn.
Nintendo pushed out the Wii first and hit the Blue Ocean market strategy. Apple did the same thing with the iPhone. Ooooh...I guess Apple copied Nintendo. Shame, Shame.
It's funny how these people (including you Rene) will moan and groan about people 'copying' but yet, that's how business is ran. You take and improve. Get over it. Get used to it.

Somebody said to me, 'yeah, but it's a cool looking store'. I responded, 'of course its a good looking store, Apple designed it for them'.
At the end of the day, looks like the only thing Microsoft is giving away there is H1N1 with all that high-five'ing going on.

as a windows user why in the world would i walk into a microsoft store.
as for apple products i would but why goto a store to buy a copy of windows. it comes on a pc from 3rd party vendors.
i dont get why they even opened a store.
apple i kinda of understand its there branded pc's etc. as for microsoft.... i might be missing something but i think its even more pointless to walk into a ms store.

Atleast they're smart enough to copy a business model that works.
Unfortunately, the only time you'll see a line in there is when people bringing in their RRoD 360s. Assuming they take them, that is.

I'm sorry, but I must continue...
So I'm guessing Best Buy copied off Apple too. I see the same set up (fluorescent lights, tech displays, employees in colored shirts). Oh my...lets harp on them. What about Wal-Mart...Circuit City...FYE.
I mean, there's only so far a store can "innovate"
And seeing as Windows/Microsoft has no definite colors...the multicolored shirts are representative of the Windows symbol (I'm sure they've been using blue, yellow, green, and red far longer than Apple Stores have been open).

Hard for me to tell, as I was getting nauseous just watching the video. Looks to me like the person shooting the video was looking for a way back out of the store, but the entrance was a one way flood of hooting and hollering maniacs. Or perhaps it was just the employees hooting. I wonder how much they get paid to hoot. Do the Gurus hoot too, or just the lackees?

@t0m Apple store doesn't have lines. I have to say, walking into an Apple store and standing around randomly waiting for someone to help me has got to be the most annoying customer experience in the world.

they misut have their whole line of zunes on these tables or something...in one way..its a waste of mall space..or any space rather but on the other hand, i guess it good for microsft...as a hardcore mac user for 3 years, i can say it makes sense to open these...ok it doesnt...i dont know where im going with this.......this is just ridiculous.but i do think i'll buy windows 7 to run on my virtual machine. imagine a mac running snow leopard, windows 7 and vmware fusion 3..now thats a machine...microsoft.....(rolling eyes and..submit.)

@SoCo_Jon
You do know that is what Windows is...just software.
So even using it on your Mac...it's still a win for Microsoft.

I know that there is nothing but Apple love on this site, but what would you like them to do? Maybe they should have suspended the PC's from the ceiling? Had no windows at all and some sort of cobalt lighting? They're selling technology. They need to present as much of as technology forward presence as possible. This just in: Apple DOES NOT have the patent on that. The pure venom for MS is unbelievable. Competition is what makes the technology grow and life in general better. Elitism only creates boxes and boundaries.

i was kind of expecting windows vista/7/xp/2000/me/95/98/3.1 etc boxes on a table tbh. they dont make hardware for pc's they dont have a microsoft branded pc. its just software, so an xbox? zune, and alot of mice on the tables.
cant really anything microsoft branded past that.

@d.allen
Clearly you are a MS droid. Yes burger king has a drive thru. But you can tell even from the outside that you are to Burger King not Mcdonalds, even if the signs were down. They both did revamps of their stores and they are completely different. No one in retail copies this blatantly. This will only help Apple. The non MS Drones will see this and laugh out loud, saying if they have to copy them so closely then I should see what apple has to offer.

You know, both apple and Microsoft were given access to unreleased, patented technologies, at the same time, as part of a xerox corporate initiative to help entrepenuers. Those technologies, which xerox simply never developed, became the basis for both the original windows and the original Macintosh. Imagine if xerox tried to do the same thing Nokia is doing :-)
but really, the suppliers are the ones who manufacture the parts that contain the violating components so it should be all on them

Oh my God, I've always thought the Apple store is the gayest & corniest experience I've had to endure when I bought [and re-bought x2] my iPhone, but boy was I wrong, this is far more corny. MS you suck so bad it's not even funny.

I love you PC freaks defending Microsoft for copying Apple saying that "Genius Steals" and "why not emulate a successfull business model."
Remember a little store called Pinkberry? They sued the pants off all the johnny come lately's who "emulated" their business model. Pinkberry won every time.
Microsoft will absolutely get sued for this because it is confusing to the consumer. Afterall they are both selling computers and software.
You better believe Apple is going to litigate this.

When I saw the video and this pics I thought, OMG!!! They copied the OS and now they copied the Apple store. What's next the App Store? iTunes? Is Steve Balmer gonna loose 200lbs, have cosmetic surgery to look like Steve Jobs? They already have the same first name!!!!
Those that say it is only business don't get it. This is creepy! MS could have designed their own store, using their style and concepts. This is an shameless, mirror copy but Apple should at the end of the day gloat that all of Microsoft's rejuvenation have been inspired by Apple.

@Rootsrobot
Yes...it's totally confusing. That a company with a totally non-similar name, non-similar logo, non-similar hardware, non-similar software will TOTALLY get sued is just waiting to happen. =|
Do you really read what you write? Sound it out?
Displays, colored shirts, and white walls are NOT things one person came up with. Get over it.
As one poster just said...if that's the case, Apple has a LOT they can be sued for. So just hush.

The were all whooping and cheering for an inapropriate length of time, do you think they still are?
Will they do that everytime someone walks into the store?  (H1N1 protected smillie)

I was in an Apple store today. Looking for the new mouse. Standing looking at peripherals, waiting for some guy wearing a baby blue t-shirt and a credit card processor to help me. After one of them got out from in front of a macbook (he had to check his facebook page, you know...) He told me the stock wasn't there yet and he didn't know when it would be delivered.
The Apple store setup with wandering cashiers and assistants is probably the worst thing - it assumes that the employees are mature enough to walk through the store and look for customers to assist.
FAIL.
Will Microsoft copy that set up too? If so, they deserve to suck.

ACTUALLY I TAKE THAT BACK - THEY DIDN'T COPY THE SHITTY MAC STORE...IT ACTUALLY LOOKS COOLER...MUST BE THE PRODUCTS...

SMH. Even the tables. They probably expect people to accidentally walk in , thinking it's an apple store.
I honestly expected them to be a little different but I guess I have to expect the unexpected ... or just don't expect anything at all.

@iDavey: the thing that is patethic about it is the fact thaT huge gigantic microsoft, with many times the money little, low marketshare apple has, are still copying them.

As an Interior Designer for Retail spaces i have to say that copying a store to almost exact specs (lighting, tables, space planning, colors, uniforms, displays, etc.) is one of the most embarrassing things in the world. Whoever said that talent borrows and genius steals is obviously a moron, since stealing is crime and whether you have morals or not, its wrong. Microsoft could have hired someone to design such a better space than simply copying apples store layout and design. for goodness sake i thought microsofts slogan was "your potenial, our passion" but it seemls blatantly ovbious that microsoft has absolutely no potential or passion to be more innovative than mac, so they took the easy (and to be honest, degrading) way out.
for all of you that say business's copy each other all the time, do you ever catch yourself saying "wait didnt ____ do that already, wow their stupid" because thats what everyone thinks when some brand or company is found to be a blatant and un original copy cat.
for the record i am both a mac and pc user so the only bias i have in this thread is as a designer and microsoft should be ashamed of themselves for having no originality or innovation of their own.

did you guys know that Rene copied his idea for a blog centered around mac products from engadget, and they copied off of tuaw? where's the outcry. oh, right, no harm no foul as long as it's fanboys doing it

@Tom
wow your attempt at pointing out a flaw in our reasoning is fail. Obviously making a blog centered around mac products isnt the same as copying the idea of a blog, along with the background picture, the font, the colors, etc.
in fact engadget uses alot of different things that tipb didnt blatantly copy such as a rating system in their comments but obviously you over looked even that large of a detail. If iphone blog had a rating system on their comments i would rate yours down. :)
if the best you mac haters can do is make half ass comments about how some people copy bits and pieces if others ideas, or even extend upon them, then you apparently arent as smart as you think you are since almost every detail of the ms store is the same as the mac store. how about you actually make an attempt to point out a situation where mac copied someone else ENTIRELY and not just 1 bit and piece.

Honestly it is pretty lame they could have come up with originality. Besides what the hell you gonn go in the ms store for? The only hardware they have is zune and the software is sold everywhere. Bow are these stores gonna stay afloat. Epic fail

@ iDavey
I realize that in a sense... And truth is windows is not going anywhere EVER, yes I know. Windows is to Mac as what blackberry is to the iphone. Microsoft and blackberries have a corporate audience but they also incorporate the "fun"damentals for your family computer to where as Macs originally were made for the entertainment of people. This is why I have a Mac. For my entertainment needs and I use the windows side for my compatibility needs. Windows is solid but I just can't see the whole point in a store when you're retailed everywhere and 3rd party manufactures have your software installed and they're sold everywhere.

It's a freaking store - how different can it be? But I do see some crucial differences. Specifically a much larger variety of computers and other hardware than what apple offers, and less expensive. I also see machines that are compatible with 95% of what the world uses.
Here's the thing apple fans forget - Microsoft doesn't need a store - they already have 95% of the market share. And MS doesn't plan to sell
computers at these stores. It's a PR play. And there is no better way to tell if PR is on the right Track than seeing it makes the competition freak out.

You WinBoyz are the funniest shit ever.
Seriously, your "ecosystem" rocks dudes.
What an embarrassment you have become.
I used to just think "I'll use my Mac, and you enjoy your PC"
Now I watch that opening and see how sorry you guys are.
You slam Apple, Mac Users, Apple Stores, and you come up with this?
Man, it must suck to be you.
And of course, you're on an iPhone site to top it all off.

@ Rjd,
You're kidding right?
1) It's not 95%
2) Apparently they DO need a store.
3) Apple is at all-time highs, even in a recession.
4) Cheap hardware is not doing well. Look at the stocks and sales of the box sellers...
5) Apple, and ergo nobody are freaking out over this. Just laughing.

@scottb: not kidding at all. You certainly can't deny that MS literally kills Apple in market share. It's such a complete rout that it's got to be embarrassing for Apple. And MS isn't even selling much at the store so why would they "need" them.
No, the object here is to show consumers that macs are just overpriced pcs. And frankly
"copying" Apple's store concept is an absolutely brilliant way to accomplish that! And it beats the heck out of Apples lame commercials attacking MS.
is an absolutely brilliant way to accomplish that.

Apple and ms are both retarded for doing this. So is this article stating that microsoft is even lamer for copying something that was already very lame? Those people better have been given free tshirts like the ones at that apple store opening.

@SoCo_Jon
I agree. I'm not trying to side with Microsoft and claim this is an amazing thing. I find this to be redundant since all they are ultimately software...not much to do with that, lmao. Unless they selling Xbox's, Zunes, and...and...and...um...lol.
But for people to be getting up in arms about someone copying a STORE Is ridiculous. Saying "they expect people to confuse it with an Apple Store"
Nobody on the face of this earth, without a mental disability is that stupid. If someone can't learn to read...or can't distinguish an Apple from a Windows logo...they deserve to fail in shopping for a device. End story.

@Jon
Actually, the first 4 customers were given Zune HD's.
Not a lot...but eh...that's something better than tshirts.

@ iDavey
" Unless they selling Xbox’s, Zunes, and…and…and…um…lol."
lmao..that was freakin funny hahaha yeah i guess they could be selling xbox's and accessories along with the upcoming project natal..i guess i can understand that aspect...

@ Jon "Those people better have been given free tshirts like the ones at that apple store opening."
I'd rock a shirt with an apple logo lol..wear it right to the front of the line and get one of the free zunes

@iDavey -
There's a case called Two Pesos. The US Supreme Court found that Two Pesos copied the "trade dress" (look and feel) of Taco Cabana restaurants. Two Pesos is now out of business.

@davey
You obviously cherish your dear microsoft, vista and zune, judging by your vehement non-sensical diatribes in defense of the gloriously innovative microsoft and their amusing attempts at relevance. Extra douche points for your pre-adolescent emoticons too!
As you feverishly type away your next response (because you are bored and lonely and have nothing better to do) on your affordable lenovo thinkpad take a moment to appreciate my congrats to you on being a turdy-turdy dump-holster-consumer of all things crappy.
You are an inspiration to petrified poop-heap consumers all around the world. Please don't give up the fight, this economy needs you.

Hey applefad if MS sucks so bad why do they a 95% market share in the OS market?? Lol - hard to argue with that kind of success.

Sorry, I didn't reply sooner.....I was defragging my hard drive.
where was I? Oh yeah, Microsoft is the best, I don't understand why you guys don't get it.

How did you know about my thing with Goats? Dammnit! Now I'm going to have to move again. I hate the internet!

Hey man, its not a copy! Microsoft rules and is the best thing ever. I happen to like viruses. What is wrong with you people? I gotta go and gargle some sac now.

It's not that Microsoft made a store that looks kinda like an Apple Store. It's that they made an Apple Store.

Why does there seem to be WAAAAYYYYYY more Microsoft employees there than customers. It can't be to help each and ever customer pick out the product (because there aren't any)

I'm not a mac fanboy or a pc fanboy--own an iphone and a dell latitude xt and love both. What I find so funny is how pathetically unenlightened all of you mac fan boys are. I have no problems with your loving mac. I actually think it is good to find things you love and enjoy and to be enthusiastic about them. But do you know where most of Mac's design ideas come from? Have you ever heard of Johnathon Ive? He creates the products you love so much and he openly admits where he gets his inspiration--and it really ins't much more "original" than what Microsoft has done here if we were to apply your standards. Read: http://gizmodo.com/343641/1960s-braun-products-hold-the-secrets-to-apple.... Me thinks you cast the stone not because of what Microsoft does, but simply because it is Microsoft that does it, and you hate Microsoft. I am not even going to discuss the concept of true creativity and progress because clearly those concepts are at too high a level for a forum such as this (and I am not implying that Microsoft or Mac is/isn't truly creative). Unfortunately, too many of you will be too in love with your own wanting logic and claim that it is different and you will never open your minds... oh well...

why are you whining? at least M$ is giving people jobs. so what if they opened a store. Not like apple has a patent on stores. jeez

I like how ms stole apple employees too.
Not only are you fanboys willing to sellout, but it is a testament to how greedy Apple is for not being willing to pay their employees, in retail no less, what they are worth.

i am apparently a mac hater? even though i type every comment on here either from my iphone or my macbook. weeeeird. i just dont like the fan boy nonsense, its like democrats that refuse to talk ish on Obama

I'm a diehard Mac user, and have been for five years now. But, I am NOT a fanboy. I realize that Windows products have made a reputation for themselves in the workplace and Windows hasmore of a market share than Apple does in the computer area. It's just the truth.
I do find it tacky though that Microsoft almost exactly copies the look and feel of an Apple store, right down to the tables and the glass panes at the front of the store.
I guarantee you that at least one of those "Gurus" has a Mac.

Got to love the protective Apple fans, and Renes swing, not saying copying isn't evident. But it's funny, there are only so many ways to open a store. I work for a surf company and this is pretty much how we open a store. "Wait, no Apple had a store first! Microsoft can't do that!" - just stupid.
I really enjoy Mac but I need and use both.

I'm a pc!! With and iPhone on the side. And a shirt that says.... I wish I was a mac!! This copying stuff is literally a bunch of bs and someone should be... Will be fired. Even if this marketing works for the interim it will die out quick. Then what? This is a very sad day. You go to lowes or home depot. You go to walmart or target you go to SAMs or Costco. Bottome line you know where you are. Even though they are similar. What is macrosoft gonna do should a customer accidently walk in??? Club them, take out their wallet, swipe the credit card and place them outside with a toshiba sattelite running windows 7??? I'll say it again, this is sad.

@CJ
absolutely, a beast machine that is so fast updating viruses definition every night and scanning shit. also, I enjoy formatting my PC every 6 months cause the awesome registry cant hold itself from being overly organized. Not to mention im a big fan of the 2 mins boot up time, but why would I need to boot up? cause of that beautiful shiny blue screen. awesome coding shows.
yea, PCs r rocking and they r the way to go
/sarcasm
note: stop injecting yrself w/ that koolaid. u must have serious issues if yr electronic world is inspired by Ballmer. do humanity a favour plz, jump from the 10th floor. 1 less idiot wouldn’t hurt the world one bit.

You people need to grow up! Apple copied the MP3 player and changed it a bit and gave it a new name - so what?! If you like Apple stuff, buy it. If you prefer Microsoft stuff, buy it. None of this stuff matters. You need to get out in the fresh air and clear your heads.

Okay, full disclosure: I own a PC -- but use an iPhone. And I legitimately have respect for what both Apple and Microsoft does. That said...
When you see this video, it feels like somebody trying to copy Apple. There's a huge difference between "emulating what works" -- and flat out copying. Microsoft flat out copied.
The reality is, they could have done it differently -- and actually made it better. Their employees didn't have to all wear different colored shirts. They didn't have to "brand" the tech-support people with a kitchy name. It looks and feels Apple. I'm not "insulted" or looking for a way to tear down Microsoft...it's just the reality of what they did.
It will be interesting to see how this is received outside of this forum. My gut tells me people will respond pretty similarly to me.
But...what do I know?...

Ah, funny how people get so offended by a company that doesn't know they exist and I'M the pre-adolescent one? LMAO. Okay.
End of the story...Apple's new ad proved it themselves. If since Windows 2, Microsoft has been "failing" why have they continued to succeed??? If you remember, during that time, Apple actually ruled the arena and Microsoft was the loser.
So obviously they're doing something right to continue making Bill Gates the richest man in the world. Eh.
Also, I actually like Apple, I'm sorry that I don't look at this thru crazed, cult-like, fanboy glasses, and I see it for what it is. Business. Whether they get sued or not. Do you really think Microsoft will care? Microsoft can literally buy Apple twice over. That's probably just with the Xbox deparment money. They have no cares in the world. If it somehow got to the point where they were brought to court (which I highly doubt happening) they would only have to change it and do it again. Microsoft never cares about what happens, they have the money to do over and over til something happens (i.e. Zune and Xbox)

we're still using my s/n. Wow.
Now lets post on how switching to guest accounts will wipe the entire user account. Hmm.
Which one would I rather have. Yikes.

MSFT have taken the time to report on the company’s total revenue, which dropped by 14-percent year-over-year to $12.92 billion (compared to $15.06 billion, last year).
The biggest “loser” was the company’s Windows division, which fell by $2,62 billion in revenue.
AAPL, OTOH, hit all-time high, increased sales, and profits.
Yup - must suck to be Apple!
You Win7 party boys are sure having fun now!

@ iDavey. the number of accidental account deletions is almost zero.
OTOH, I can tell story after story of Windows losing client data/profiles, etc.
Keep trying though.
It's fun to watch you guys dig deeper on an Apple iPhone site.
Don't you guys have a party, or a store opening to go to?
I mean, I know it's more fun to be here - totally understandable.

CJ microsoft is a product like Quark, people are scared to leave and they don't like to learn new things. Stick with what you know is what has happened with people that use window (not saying everyone because people do love Microsoft but for a big part people are just scared to make changes). So don't give me that crap there are a lot more windows buyers (no-duh). But really who is excited about microsoft stuff, xbox is cool.

I thought the store looked pretty cool - loved the screens on the wall. They probably look cooler in person. I know a guy who worked on the design of the store and there is a lot more here than meets the jpeg image. Example: interactive graphics on the wall screens react and change based on the number of people and noise level in the store. Lots of other subtle stuff like that. Don't judge til you go in. Cheers!

MS store even ripped off apple geniius bar. Haha. I can only imagne the miles of line ups of angry cstomers seeking solutions to the never ending pc problems. Lol.

Ok come on, do u know the definition of literally? It means to copy something EXACTLY! And I don't think the Apple is that colorful (it's pretty bland) and Microsoft is trying to defend itself by seeing what attracts the customers. SO I HOPE THE WINDOWS STORE SUCCEEDS AND THEY NEED TO OPEN MORE TOO!!

Interesting how they are subjecting themselves to be compared more-so to Apple, even in retail. Fail because they still can't make the store cool, even though they copied ideas.

RAY
Re Coming to America and McDowells.
OMG that was 2 funny with the Golden Arches & all! LOL
All the fake ass excitement was totally McDowells!

@ brum #90
if you need both, remember you can run windows 7 on a mac, but you can't run snow leopard on a non-mac computer!
So really why the need for 2 different computers? I've got EVERYTHING on my mac.
I'll bet the MS store has got Sooooooooooooooooooo many copies of windows 7 all over the store.
Hey maybe they're working on an msPhone too! It'll look like an iPhone, but it's somehow different!

it's sooo cheesy... come on, all these employees are feining excitement... all these scripted yelps and whoohoos and clapping... the customers coming in look really uncomfortable... it really is very creepy, like being welcomed into a religious cult. poor microsoft store employees.