updated 02:10 pm EDT, Thu July 8, 2010
Microsoft loses Apple retail guru to electric cars
Tesla Motors scored a coup for its dealerships on Thursday as it hired George Blankenship to head up its dealership strategy. The executive is best known for creating Apple's core retail strategy in its early years and was just recently contracted by Microsoft for its own retail stores. Tesla hopes to "revolutionize" how cars are sold and hired Blankenship because he has a reputation for being "on time and on budget," the electric automaker's CEO Elon Musk said.
The company hasn't fully detailed its retail strategy but plans to use Blankenship's Apple experience in particular to make its dealerships "stylish and inviting," traits that are purportedly absent at rivals. They will be home to service workers, nicknamed Tesla Rangers, who will visit the owners themselves for some repairs as well as inspections and even firmware updates.
The first results of the new hire's work will come through dealerships in Tokyo, Toronto and Washington, DC.
Blankenship's switch is a wound to Microsoft's retail strategy, which has hinged primarily on copying and building on Apple retail layouts down to the existence of Guru Bars. His departure is unlikely to affect continued Microsoft Store openings in the near future but comes just a year after he began, leaving Microsoft without his direction for any long-term changes.
Tesla just recently unveiled the Roadster 2.5, which is already considered influenced heavily by technology firms: it has the option of a seven-inch touchscreen system that supports a rear camera as well as Bluetooth and HD Radio.