Last winter, Microsoft announced that they’ll be opening retail stores; today, they confirmed that the first ones will be opening this fall. Some of them–get this–will be located right next to Apple stores.
To which I say: Wow. Superb, guys.
No way does this end well. Does the company which brought you the brown Zune (and it’s number one fan, pictured above) really think they’ve really got this architecture/retail/service thing whipped? It would be one thing if they wanted to experiment quietly, and start small–just like Apple did–so that they could work out the bugs. Instead, they’re just offering themselves up for public humiliation.
The designs of the store aren’t public yet–but their recent “concept” store on the Redmond campus manages to look exactly like the love child of a Circuit City and a Walgreens.
You can only wonder and laugh at the side by side pictures that this’ll engender. The pictures might include lines out the door for the iPhone 4G or MacBook Molecule or a talk from Michel Gondry…while the crickets chirp at the Windows store, the clerks check their email, and a granny inside complains that she doesn’t know what to make of a “fatal exception on sub-route 5601.”
This is exactly the sort of real-world, explicit comparison that you’d want to opt of, if you’re in marketing up in Redmond. Apple’s next switcher ad? We’re betting it’ll just be a straight-up, real-time documentary.
Which brings us to a larger point: Why is it that everyone competing with Apple chooses to compete on Apple’s terms? If you’ve got to beat Lance Armstrong at something and you get to choose the game, would you really roll up to his front door, pedaling your Huffy? No. You’d pick a game that he’s not good at. Duh.