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Ballmer wants Microsoft store count to match Apple's

updated 05:35 pm EDT, Wed April 6, 2011

Microsoft said aping Apple retail store count

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wants to outdo Apple in the sheer number of retail stores but has been held back by poor results at what few stores he has, according to sources. Both the executive and COO Kevin Turner would want to pass Apple's 300-plus store count but have had to keep their plans on hold. The stores are designed to mimic Apple's design, which is meant to serve as a halo for the brand, but don't have the according traffic, SAI learned.

As a consequence, any attempt at an aggressive store rollout would likely trigger a rebellion by shareholders, since Microsoft would increase its expenses but likely generate little in return. Microsoft would have to either have a strong need to showcase a product or a rapid improvement in store metrics to justify the cash.

Microsoft's disadvantage has so far been acknowledged as an inherent flaw of its own product ecosystem. Since virtually none of the products in its stores are unique, shoppers have few incentives to make the purchase in the store when they can often find discounts elsewhere. Microsoft has mostly had to trade on slight customization, such as giving PCs "pure" copies of Windows free of the trial apps and utilities that bog down regular retail versions.

The company so far has eight stores and is just opening its first East coast store in the near future, in Atlanta. It will have a total of 10 this spring once a Seattle store opens.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Sosa

    Senior User

    Joined: Feb 2002



    If I were Microsoft, or a Microsoft customer, I would be embarrassed at these obvious copy cat attempts. Adding that they do not generate anywhere near the revenue the Apple stores do (one of the highest revenue generators in the retail business by square foot, or so I have read) is further humiliation.

  1. Herod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    like i said before

    nothing new here, been like this since 1985.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    software and a few peripherals

    Microsoft doesn't build anything that Windows runs on (except for whatever OS the Xbox runs). Except for a few peripherals, Microsoft requires hardware from other vendors to display their software. This requires a buy-in from the hardware vendors, something I doubt they really want to do since I doubt people are going to buy a complete PC at a Microsoft store when they go to any number of cut-rate stores and get cheap PCs there. There are way too many PC vendors so showing most of them would be very difficult and Microsoft would have to explain why Windows doesn't work exactly the same way on each.

    The Apple store is different because (we hope) the sales and support people at the Apple Store are better trained than those at BestBuy and wherever else Apple computers are sold. All computers displayed are built by Apple running the same OS so the experience is the same on each.

  1. rumplestiltskin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    It's time...

    It's time for Ballmer to admit defeat, sell off the parts of Microsoft and return whatever money he can get to its stockholders. Better yet, he can start by resigning and at least his salary isn't being wasted.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    Well, I am shocked.

    SHOCKED! I say.

    So, the majority installed OS vendor didn't get there because people really want it, or are in any way truly jazzed about the OS?

    As much as that may or may not be true, there are certainly more ways and locations to acquire Windows stuff than just the Microsoft store, or their web site. Apple's stores are in some respects the primary outlet for instant gratification Apple Hardware purchasing, particularly in cities where access to a store is quite easy. While you are there, you can also pick up some 3rd party products and get assistance with the products you buy, or might buy there.

    just my two cents (and a ribbing to Microsoft ;)

  1. makesense

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2007



    not a MS hater....but.....

    MS squandered itself. It won't matter how many stores MS develops. MS has a declining future.

  1. boris_cleto

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2002


    Typical M$

    We have to have 300 stores just like Apple, even though we don't sell anything at the ones we already have.

  1. solefald

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2008



    you, and what products?

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    what he needs to do... the Monkey dance. It worked for Windows, it can work for Windows Phone!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. JuanGuapo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008


    Until you've been in one... cannot say how much/little it is like an Apple Store.

    I saw the store at South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa, CA) that opened last week after I went to the Apple store to get my iPhone exchanged. It's Apple-esque but not a carbon-copy as many like to say.

    It looks more modern than the Apple store (ie. surface, the 360deg panorama screens, Xbox, Kinect, it's got a LOT more choices on computers, etc.)

    On the other hand, the Answers Bar is very Apple-esque. If anything, they're not as snotty as Apple's geniuses so I may buy next tablet there if my iPad dies.

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