updated 02:45 pm EDT, Wed July 15, 2009
MS Retail Near Apple
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.
Retail store VP David Porter had previously pitched the stores more as demonstrations of Microsoft's newer technologies, like Windows 7 and the Zune, rather than a cornerstone of its sales strategy as with Apple. Turner also reiterated an additional observation of Porter's and said that Microsoft would share what it learns about running the stores with other companies.
The approach is new but consistent with Microsoft's advertising strategy. Its online and TV campaigns have taken to always comparing against Apple, often juxtaposing Apple's supposedly higher prices versus inexpensive Windows systems. A retail initiative on this level is likely meant to let buyers compare for themselves.
Turner didn't give a particular opening date for the stores, though they're expected to open in the fall and may well be timed at or near the October 22nd launch date for Windows 7. [via ZDNet]