Attack of the iClones: Microsoft Retail Store Edition

First they clone the handsets. Then they clone the App Store. Then they clone MobileMe. (Not to mention Windows 7's "dock" block...) What's left for Microsoft to clone? The Apple Retail Stores, of course.

Enter: the Microsoft Store!

We've already heard how Apple Stores are retail juggernauts, and are being re-focused to lure even more switchers, all driven by the experts Apple got on board and hired from GAP and Target, and the Genius' they but behind the bars.

How's Microsoft going to compete? Tasteful "Zune Brown" decor? No, apparently by hiring someone from... a movie studio and putting Guru's on the floor. iSigh.

Of course, the bigger challenge will be: what can Microsoft sell? Windows, Office, Xbox, Zune, and...? What exactly? Doesn't seem like a very compelling retail experience to us, but what do we know, we never thought Vista would be a blockbuster success (and we're still on the fence about Songsmith...)

How about you? Any shopping itch you think only mighty Microsoft can scratch?

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 Retail Store Edition

18 Comments

you know, i know microsoft is being bagged here seriously..
but lets be honest if ya wanna do pc gaming, mac is a joke. windows is the only solution.
but if you like to just sit on the web sure go for a mac.

You're right... because Apple was the first computer manufacturer or software company to have a retail store. Microsoft's definitely thinking, "Hey, Apple's got a store, why can't we?" Way to come off sounding like the typical smug apple zealot.

I cant wait to check out my new Microsoft store.
They need to do something to remind people that PCs can be cool too. Will be interesting to see which hardware vendors get to be in the stores. MSFT could possible pwn Apple in a few years.
@azzman: yes, World of Warcraft is better on a PC.

Haha, I just posted this on my blog. Can't wait to go leech of their wifi (if they have it) with my MacBook and iPhone :)

I love it for apple. Competetion is what makes apple do great things. Microsoft is always two steps behind in computing anymore.

I don't know if it's just me or is Microsoft always a few steps behind Apple? Zunes, Windows 7 focusing more on performance and not many new looks (Snow Leopard), retail stores now.
I'm not saying Apple is the first to do things like this but Apple is a company that brings new technology to the masses. That is how they made their success.
I'm interested in this. Wonder what brands they will be selling there. Would be a big boost to whoever is being sold. Good luck to them. I don't think they will match the success of Apple's though. It's just coming into the market too late in the game; same as the Zunes.

I don't really have any problems with Microsoft. I don't see myself moving away from the PC or Windows any time soon and I play my Xbox 360 more than I like to admit.
But I really don't get what they are going to sell in these stores. You can get Zunes, Xbox, Windows, Office, and what ever else in Best Buy and god knows how many other stores that are probably within a 2 mile radius in Any Town, USA. I don't see Dell or HP really wanting to sell PCs there when they do fine at Best Buy.
Maybe they will try to have some type of information and help setup like in the Apple stores or something. Or a section for WinMo phones and other stuff. It's a mystery.

Right, cause the dock block wasn't in Windows 1.1... seriously, there is very little new under the sun. Apple swiped it, too. We're all better off when they all do their best version of the latest and greatest. And of course Win7 is going to beef up performance, its the first release following a UI redesign - they have the pretty now its time to get back to performance tuning. People bash Vista the same way (and for the same claimed reasons) that they bashed XP when it came out. Imagine my surprise when all the XP haters suddenly thought Xp was the best thing ever and Vista sucked...

Puleez! You people have senses of humor almost as bad as your senses of history!
I use Windows every day (currently XP and 7 beta), and I have since 3.1. No one is making fun of Microsoft or Windows -- but we're making a lot of fun of their continued HAM FISTED, borderline mind-bogglingly silly strategies.
Just because Apple has successful retails stores doesn't mean Microsoft needs them. They keep competing for no reason other than to compete, and it's killing them. Where's my integrated Windows, WindowsMobile, Xbox, Zune experience? They should be spending their money doing what they do best -- creating platforms, not trying to me-too everyone else's services.
Let Dell, HP, etc. charge the retail store windmill if they have to.
We heart Microsoft, we just don't heart what they're doing to themselves :(

Microsoft can't compite with apple, apple is so much better in so many ways. Since the bigining microsoft is just locking to apple to see what to copy. Apple is a better company.

You're totally right on that Rene. They need to work on platform tie-ins and stop me-too'ing... however, some of the me-too is necessary and obvious. So obvious that saying they ripped it off from Apple is silly. As I said there is very little new under the sun and its best for consumers when they all give us the things we want with their own spin on it. Then we reward the ones we like with our hard earned cash and we all win. Somewhere in there I left out dockers, chicks, and underwear gnomes. I trust you'll forgive me :) Now can we start another thread about the 3rd Gen iPhone? 'Cause given the probable specs, I am SO buying one :)

I think its more to be in line with an 'outlet store.' Sure Nike and Tommy Hilfiger are sold in every clothing and shoe store in the country, but an outlet store provides a showcase of the entire lineup with salesman familiar with that lineup in an atmosphere designed around the brand. Its the same reason companies like apple do it. They werent the first, just the most mentioned on the internet.

Wow a bunch of Apple nerds. That little blog post was pathetic. Apple wished they could make the money Microsoft does.
Theres no point for MS to make a store, unlike Apple, every store sells their stuff.
Cause really who wants to waste shelf space with Apple TVs.

Rene is right. But come on, when someone or some company has success doing something, then why not copy it. It's like McDonalds complaining everytime they see a fast food restaurant. I enjoy microsoft and apple. But sorry microsoft, I'm not giving up my iPhone.

Look, I love Apple products, and I love theiphoneblog, but I laughed when you joked about the fact they wouldn't have much to sell. They'd have a hell of a lot more of a variety of things to sell than Apple! They could sell a whole bunch of games for Windows, way more than a Mac could. Hey, maybe they could even have some upgradable parts, like CPU's, RAM. Because, you know how Windows machines are actually easy to upgrade (shock, horror!). Oh and I loved how you downplayed the XBOX. They could sell a whole bunch of games and accessories for it, maybe even have some Demo machines in the store. Nintendo has their own stores in New York, why does no one knock them...?

Lets all remember that it was Windows Mobile that first started with all the open source programs. Does handango.com ring any bells? Given the 10k+ apps you can get for your Windows Mobile phones, all Apple did was streamline the process. Rene called it out early and got it right, Windows has some very distinct advantages and needs to play off of those. But honestly, making a windows app store isnt gonna cost a conglomerate like Microsoft much. Just a few months of programming really.