From MacNN.com: Microsoft retail shops to open near Apple’s
Microsoft’s planned retail stores will deliberately open near Apple stores, the company’s COO Kevin Turner said in a presentation today at the Windows Partner Conference. The executive was emphatic that the stores wouldn’t imitate Apple retail, at least in the long term, but that they would “innovate.” Specifics of how this would work weren’t mentioned in the session.
“Innovate” for Microsoft means do what Apple does.
The problem is the needs of Apple are different than the needs of Microsoft. Apple needed the retail stores because of the lack of retailers carrying Apple products and the ones who did often had pretty poor displays of Apple product.
Apple started with the “store within a store” concept at the now defunct CompUSA. When they first started, Apple actually asked for volunteers to sign up to help answer Apple related questions because the CompUSA workers were clueless about Macs. I actually worked one Saturday and received an Apple “Think Different” polo to wear while working there. During the day, I made quite a few sales and had to grab CompUSA employees to checkout.
What does Microsoft need the stores for? Windows is on nearly every PC shown. The Xbox360 is pretty popular and sold everywhere. The Zune? Well, it exists.
The problem for Microsoft is that they really have nothing compelling to show. Having Windows on your PC is not a feature, it’s a necessary evil.