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Microsoft looks to force more retail competition with Apple

Two of the most recognizable brands in the computer world are Apple and Microsoft. The rivalry between the two firms goes back to the foundations of both companies and the current crop of commercials both firms are airing each attack the other.

Microsoft is taking the fight to venues other than TV with the announcement that new retail stores are coming and some of them will be in close proximity to Apple stores. The announcement came during a keynote speech at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2009 that was held on July 15. Microsoft COO Kevin Tuner said during the keynote that the company would be opening retail stores to take advantage of customer demand for products at the retail level.

A Microsoft Spokesperson wrote in a blog post, "As we progress on our retail strategy there will be scenarios where we have stores in proximity to Apple. We are on track to open stores in the Fall timeframe. Beyond that we have no additional details to share."

Turner is particularly well suited to the task of setting up a Microsoft retail presence. He comes from Wal-Mart stores where he started as a cashier and worked his way up to CEO of Sam's Club stores. Microsoft has also hired David Porter in the last few months, another retail focused executive.

When Porter was hired Microsoft said, "Defining the time frame, locations and specifics for planned Microsoft-branded retail stores will be Porter's first order of business. The purpose of opening these stores is to create deeper engagement with consumers and continue to learn first-hand about what they want and how they buy."

EWeek quotes Turner from the WPC 2009 event saying, "And we're going to showcase this opportunity of Windows simplicity, choice, value, and partners. And stay tuned, because we're going to have some retail stores opened up that are opened up right next door to Apple stores this fall. Stay tuned, just stay tuned. "

"Every single thing we learn in those Microsoft stores that we put on the street we're going to share that openly and transparently with all of our retail partners so that they can do the exact same thing. And we're going to get that customer feedback directly. We're in the game for the long-term here. And I know something about retail, and we've hired and incredible team to do an incredible job on retail."

Turner also spoke at the conference about the Laptop Hunter retail ads that the company has been running. He pointed out that the ads are unscripted and are working. Evidence that the ads are putting pressure on Apple according to Turner came in the form of a phone call.

Turner says that Microsoft received a call from Apple legal saying, "Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.' They took like $100 off or something. It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I've ever taken in business. I did cartwheels down the hallway. At first I said, 'Is this a joke? Who are you?' Not understanding what an opportunity. And so we're just going to keep running them and running them and running them."



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I don't see this ending well for MS
By heavydevelopment on 7/16/2009 2:14:18 PM , Rating: -1
The reason that Apple opened it's own retail stores was because they were lacking retail distributors for their products back in 2001. Then the iPod came along and that changed everything. Now people go to Apple stores to be "seen" mostly because of the iPod. It's almost more of a social thing than a retail shopping venue. Even women's magazines are telling single girls to go to the Apple Stores to meet guys. I'm a Mac owner and I try and avoid Apple stores as much as possible. Too many loiterers milling around. The only time I go in is when I have to or can't wait for something. Even then, I go in do my business and get out. I just don't see MS gaining that kind of popularity. Maybe its just me, but I only see 40 yo nerds and gaming trolls in MS stores. As for a Genius Bar (what would MS call it--something lame like Wizards Bar-- invoking thoughts of Dungeons & Dragons. insuring that any woman under the age of 30 would stay far, far away), I really don't think that MS wants to open that can of worms. Ranting customers who can't get Vista to work right on their circa 1990s beige box is not good PR.




RE: I don't see this ending well for MS
By PhoenixKnight on 7/16/2009 3:00:17 PM , Rating: 5
I'd like to hang out in a Mac store with a Zune and a laptop running Linux, just to be different.


RE: I don't see this ending well for MS
By tkekyle on 7/16/2009 3:38:11 PM , Rating: 3
Just another example of how the technologically inept are buoying up apple. I would bet my life savings that the judge who was convinced that thepiratebay.org was actually 'distributing' copyrighted material (as opposed to hash codes for other people) was a mac user.

Apple will never overtake Microsoft. The driving factor for/agaisnt Apple for the past decade+ has been compatibility. People who are concerned with security love how incompatible Apple is with windows because cyber-delinquents rarely target Macs with malicious software. Reason being, they only command 5-10% of the market so why would you waste your time? On the other hand people who want a computer for general use hate Mac (or used to) because of how incompatible it is with the software they often want to use. So as the Mac becomes more compatible with windows, the market of people who use it for security reasons will shrink and the people using Macs for general purpose computers will grow. *However*, one of two things will happen. Either the Mac will just be swallowed up by microsoft (unlikely because of anti-trust laws) or it will become so close to windows that there has the be a deciding factor that is unrelated to the quality of the machine. Those unrelated factors are brand recognition, price, and prevalence. Obviously microsoft wins.

My advice to apple is to keep trying to stake out other computer-related markets and move away from computer development.


RE: I don't see this ending well for MS
By cserwin on 7/16/2009 4:39:17 PM , Rating: 5
Ummm... if I were selling a product, I would much rather be in the business of selling to the technologically inept than the technologically savy. It's a much, much bigger market.


By quiksilvr on 7/18/2009 2:57:22 AM , Rating: 3
That's the case to everything. You don't sell jewelry to a jeweler, you sell it to people who don't know a damn thing about, cut, color, carat and clarity. You don't sell cell phones to people like us, you sell it to textaholics who don't realize they get charged for incoming messages too.


By Omega215D on 7/17/2009 2:56:16 AM , Rating: 2
I actually go to the Apple store with my Cowon S9 out in view with my Ultimate Ears headphones and my LG enV Touch cell phone.

Granted I had my 2008 MacBook in tow... (MacBooks 13" - 15" make sense, other Apple products not so much).


RE: I don't see this ending well for MS
By rcc on 7/16/2009 6:35:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The reason that Apple opened it's own retail stores was because they were lacking retail distributors for their products back in 2001.


The Apple retail stores go back farther than 2001.

Other than that, the side by side should be entertaining one way or another.

I'm kind of envisioning 2 competing picket lines across the street from each other. It'll be like a political rally.


RE: I don't see this ending well for MS
By rcc on 7/16/2009 6:40:03 PM , Rating: 2
Curious, I just googled "first apple retail store" and they do claim 2001.

However, I got married in 2001, and it was years earlier that a friend and I meandered through an Apple store. ::shrugs:: name/format change?


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