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Microsoft To Open Apple Like Stores

No word so far on when or where Microsoft will launch the first of its new retail outlets, let alone whether Australia will see them out-glitzing the all-glass Apple stores in Sydney and Melbourne. Around the world, Apple now has more than 200 stores.
In Australia Microsoft has cut back on staff levels in the consumer market and several products and services available overseas are not sold in Australia.

Microsoft claims that it will use its stores to boost sales of Windows 7, Windows Mobile and Windows Live. Others suggest X-box and (dare we say?) Zunes – Microsoft’s slow-selling music players, which have never made it to the Australian market.

“I have to admit I’m doubtful [whether] Microsoft is able to pull off anything as sleek and hip as Apple retail stores,” comments a ZDNet blogger.

Says Microsoft, answering such taunts: “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 has been experimenting with retail for some years, The Wall Street Journal reports.


 “In a 20,000-square-foot warehouse near its campus in the suburbs of Seattle, Microsoft has tested various retail concepts, complete with shelves displaying Xbox games and big computer monitors with touch-sensitive screens,” the paper reveals.

“One of Porter’s tasks will be to figure out whether to actually sell computers rather than merely show off their features. Any decision that favoured some PC makers and left others off store shelves could anger these hardware partners.”

“The failures of other stores opened by technology companies will loom over Microsoft. In 2004, Gateway shuttered a network of more than 188 company-owned retail stores.”

The Journal notes that Microsoft itself operated a Microsoft store inside a movie-theatre complex in San Francisco, beginning in 1999. But two years later it shut down the store – which showcased, but didn’t sell, Microsoft products.