Print 64 comment(s) - last by mmcdonalataocd.. on Feb 17 at 11:53 AM

In its next step to connect with consumers, Microsoft will open a number of stores in select markets

Microsoft announced plans to open its own retail stores in an effort to connect with customers and better compete with the extremely popular stores from Apple.

"The purpose of opening these stores is to create deeper engagement with consumers and continue to learn firsthand about what they want and how they buy," Microsoft said in a statement on its website.

The company also said it has selected David Porter, former DreamWorks animation global product distribution manager, to serve as corporate vice president for the retail stores.  Prior to his stint at DreamWorks, Porter also served as in store ops, merchandising and IT of Walmart for more than 25 years.

Microsoft did not publicly disclose how many stores it plans to open, what markets will be targeted, or which products will be made available.  It's likely PCs will be sold with Microsoft Windows Vista loaded with other company software, with the store also used to be an advertising platform for Windows 7.

Porter will be in charge of deciding where stores will open, and how they'll market products to the public.  

"This is an exciting time with our strong line-up of upcoming product releases," Microsoft CEO Kevin Turner said in a statement.  "There are tremendous opportunities ahead to create a world-class shopping experience for our customers."

Apple, one of Microsoft's biggest competitors, has more than 200 stores worldwide, which helps draw in new Apple customers.  Microsoft's latest advertising campaign featured former CEO Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld -- and although most PC fans were skeptical from the beginning -- the ads flopped horribly, and forced Microsoft to go back to the drawing board.

There are now 144 Microsoft employees serving as in-store "gurus" to help teach customers in electronics chain stores about Microsoft and its products.

Despite having the popular Xbox 360 video game console and Zune MP3 player, Microsoft has still had an extremely difficult time reaching out to owners of Microsoft products or potential customers.  Furthermore, the Vista operating system was not received very well by PC users, and Apple continues to chip away at the PC market while its iPod MP3 players already control the market.

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RE: Looks like...
By TomZ on 2/13/2009 1:56:51 PM , Rating: 4
Stores like this don't need to turn an operating profit themselves if they serve a larger, more valuable marketing purpose. After all, Microsoft as a whole is more than just a retail chain.

I'm not arguing that I think this is a great idea, I'm just saying I think it is interesting. Microsoft is obviously pretty clueless about Marketing, so this could just be another bad idea...or who knows, maybe it will work?

RE: Looks like...
By bighairycamel on 2/13/2009 2:32:43 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is obviously pretty clueless about Marketing, so this could just be another bad idea.

I don't know, the "I'm a PC and I'm 4 and a half" commercial went over pretty well; my wife will attest to that.

Plus that little thing called the XBox 360... seems to me like the marketing was fairly successful on that one.

RE: Looks like...
By StevoLincolnite on 2/13/2009 11:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, they could open the store with a large chunk dedicated to the Xbox 360, Accessories and games, and offer deals that rival that of EB Games, probably add some booths where you could play the Xbox on Xbox Live! with mates at the same time.

Then you have the Zune, you could offer users the ability to buy from the Microsoft website and download the song to there player as well.

Probably throw in all there Keyboards, Mice, Controllers etc.

And then have a nice range of machines ranging from Netbooks to gamer orientated desktops and it would be awesome.

Hell they could even build an Internet Cafe into the store as well, so people can check my space while having a coffee.

Still I hope they come to Australia in full force, I would love to have a store full of Xbox Games finally, as the closest EB games is a good 6 hours away.

RE: Looks like...
By gstrickler on 2/13/2009 11:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
Hell they could even build an Internet Cafe into the store as well, so people can check my space while having a coffee.
Don't you mean Hotmail, I mean MSN, I mean Windows Live, I mean Yaa-who, ...?

RE: Looks like...
By Pirks on 2/13/2009 2:46:26 PM , Rating: 4
It may work third time, as usual with MS

So give it a few more years

RE: Looks like...
By gstrickler on 2/13/2009 11:21:29 PM , Rating: 3
Think different.

The Microsoft way.

Back to reality for a moment. Does anybody else see the absurdity in the new Microsoft advertising slogan?

"Windows - Life without walls"

If you don't have any walls, why in the heck do you need windows and where would you put them?

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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