updated 08:35 pm EDT, Wed September 21, 2011
Microsoft Seattle shop neady to go
Microsoft's long-expected Seattle store will open October 20, the company said Wednesday. Located in University Village, the shop will follow a Microsoft pattern of holding a free concert, this time for The Black Keys, to lure visitors who wouldn't show otherwise. Although the concert isn't until the following day, customers will have to queue up for the 9:30AM opening to get tickets.
As is almost always the case with Microsoft's strategy, Apple also has a store in the same shopping center. Microsoft officially portrays its stores as retail experiments but is often thought to be hoping they will serve as countering messages to Apple's shops. The Microsoft University Village location will reportedly be separated only by a parking lot, but it won't be as close as that in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, which is immediately across the hall.
For Microsoft, the new store is a symbolic attempt to close a gap it has left open for years. Apple opened its University Village store in September 2003, just as iTunes was reaching Windows and the third-generation iPod was taking off. Microsoft's lack of an iPod competitor until 2006, a lack of retail stores, and tendency to miss trends has let Apple grow to where it's fiscally stronger and outselling Microsoft by a wide margin in every category outside of the developer's mainstay PC OS and productivity app businesss.