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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 callmeroy on 2/13/2009 1:58:02 PM , Rating: 2
The MS stores will sell computers too. I don't know what the DT article said (I didn't read it because I read the story already from another source and I figured it would be redundant)...but from the report I read the stores will sell MS software and merchandise (of course) but you'll also be able to buy computers there as well -- naturally all Windows based machines.

I just mainly think its ridiculous in the current economy to do this now....I mean in such un-certain times isn't it wiser to just save any "extra" cash you have and for now just pay the bills you need to survive -- like buying food, your utilities and your mortgage? You'd think a corporation would think with like logic as well.


RE: Looks like...
By TomZ on 2/13/2009 1:59:53 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I just mainly think its ridiculous in the current economy to do this now
A recession is a GREAT time to one-up your competitors, who might be in "survival mode" as you are suggesting.


RE: Looks like...
By callmeroy on 2/13/2009 2:10:07 PM , Rating: 2
Well i suppose one could say that but its a weird concept to me still, after all this isn't just a run of the mill recession this is a pretty bad one. Unemployment rates alone tell us that, let alone forclosure and consumer confidence data (although January they say retail sales actually were up a bit).


RE: Looks like...
By MarcLeFou on 2/13/2009 4:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I read somewhere that the retail sales were higher in january than december. If that's true this is a really good sign as I've never seen a good january at retail ... ever.


RE: Looks like...
By TomZ on 2/13/2009 4:18:44 PM , Rating: 3
They weren't higher in January than in December, but January's sales were higher than January one year earlier. And most importantly, that figure was up when many economists thought it would be down.


RE: Looks like...
By jeff834 on 2/14/2009 2:05:13 AM , Rating: 2
Seems like making stores creates jobs which is never bad for unemployment. I work for Sprint right now which has been pretty good pay and benefits, but if MS is hiring for a B&M store and offered decent pay and benefits I'd jump ship and go over there in a second. As for business moves, frankly I think MS has a better chance of weathering a bad economy than Apple does, I mean when you're unemployed how many $3000 laptops do you buy?


RE: Looks like...
By JAB on 2/14/2009 6:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As for business moves, frankly I think MS has a better chance of weathering a bad economy than Apple does, I mean when you're unemployed how many $3000 laptops do you buy?
Apple has a better ROI 11 billion in the bank and sales are growing- though very slowly. MS and their mission to be compatible with nearly every imaginable piece of hardware ever made is not easy or cheap. Apples bankruptcy was the best thing that ever happen to them. they got in the habbit of dropping things that cost too much like legacy support. This obviously has some issues with business sales and tinkerers but it does help out their profitability.

Stores like these are often never intended to make a profit in the short term they are living R&D centers.


RE: Looks like...
By callmeroy on 2/13/2009 2:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
Another thing I left out -- unless MS offers discounts (why are you laughing?) at their stores...seriously why do I want to go to their stores than Best Buy that I'm used to and in some sense "comfortable" with. I mean the only reason I hate best buy is because Geek Squad is pathetic and ridiculously over charge folks for the simplest of things that I feel bad seeing folks who know nothing get so ripped off, that and crowds..i hate crowds.

But they do have a lot of stuff under one roof and its close to my house. And lastly Best Buy is the hands down best place to buy DVDs near my house - the selection destroys any other store.


RE: Looks like...
By austinag on 2/13/2009 2:36:58 PM , Rating: 5
You guys are all forgeting one thing; all of you/us posting on this website represent a pretty computer/tech/OS savy bunch. This kind of store is aimed at picking up the kind of consumer that needs to be walked through the process, doesn't understand menus or F keys.
You know, Apple users.


RE: Looks like...
By PogoThePrez on 2/13/2009 9:24:51 PM , Rating: 1
I'd like to see the lesson on how to right click


RE: Looks like...
By melgross on 2/15/2009 6:05:54 PM , Rating: 2
And most PC users.

Gateway did real well with their stores.


RE: Looks like...
By Pirks on 2/13/2009 2:53:44 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I just mainly think its ridiculous in the current economy to do this now
Apple's most recent earnings call pretty much contradicts your words.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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