Mall Wars: Microsoft Goes After Apple
is going head-to-head with Apple yet again. This time, however, it’s
not about operating systems. It’s about retail stores in high-end malls
across America. Microsoft plans to not only open stores in close proximity
to its rival, but in some cases right beside them.
going to have some retail stores opened up right next door to Apple
stores this fall,” said Microsoft’s chief operating officer Kevin Turner
last week at a webcast conference in New Orleans, according to Reuters. “Stay
February, Microsoft announced plans to open its own chain of branded
stores to counter Apple’s success at retail, and it has hired a former
Wal-Mart exec to run them. But few details on the new stores are out,
including where the stores will be located.
Riley, retail strategist at Kurt Salmon Associates, told The Boston
it makes sense for Microsoft to put stores alongside Apple’s.
going to be tapping into traffic of people who are interested in technology,” he
said. “You want to expose yourself to the competition’s consumers.
You want to fish where the fish are.”
Riley also said that similar to Apple, the stores could help Microsoft
launch new products and redefine its image.
Microsoft has to do is find a way to get closer to the ultimate consumer
of its products,” he said. “It puts more of a consumer face on the
generally see the stores as a way to support Microsoft’s entertainment
hardware products, including further boosting its strong-selling Xbox
game franchise. The stores could also help with the relaunch of Zune,
its music player, later this year.
the downside, the PC software business may be more challenging since
Microsoft’s software runs on machines made by various companies while
Apple makes its own computers. At the store level, training employees
on several different brands of computer hardware, as well as the Microsoft
software will likewise be more of hurdle versus Apple. Finally, many
observers believe Microsoft has to catch up to the brand cachet and
loyalty Apple engenders not only from consumers but also employees.
will have a harder time getting that kind of enthusiasm out of the
employees that they hire,” Andy Hargreaves, a consumer electronics
analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, told The
What do you think of Microsoft opening its new stores in close proximity
or directly alongside Apple’s? Since they’ll be in direct competition,
what should Microsoft particularly focus on to make sure the new stores
are competitive with its chief rival?
- Microsoft Takes Page from
Apple Retail Plan – The Boston Globe
- Microsoft stores to open near
Apple stores in fall – Reuters