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Should Microsoft Get Its Own Retail Stores?

Ross Rubin, contributing at Engadget, makes a compelling case for Microsoft opening up its own retail stores, in order to see the kind of success companies like Apple and Nintendo have enjoyed, either with multiple retail locations driving sales, or a flagship store increasing visibility. Ross says Microsoft now has a wide lineup of sophisticated products, almost none of which can be properly demoed at any retail location.

The fact is, even the best electronics stores typically fail at presenting Windows PCs, with crappy demo units with broken keyboards and laptops that are so locked down that you can’t explore those functions. No one is buying a Tablet PC without trying one out, yet I have yet to visit a CompUSA, Circuit City, Staples or any other store that had a Tablet that worked, was on, folded properly (many had the security piece preventing it from going to Tablet mode, brilliant) and had a stylus on hand.

Lots of Microsoft products need good demos, including Media Center and Zune, and will never get decent treatment at your local Best Buy. Microsoft could really use a store, even one that didn’t sell must of anything, as long as it showed people why Microsoft technologies are great. It’s clear lately that Microsoft’s success in development doesn’t equal a similar amount of success in sales. The whole company is underachieving in stores compared to how much it is achieving in the office. The disconnect results from the message not reaching the public, as Microsoft’s marketing is many times among the worst of any large company. Get the message to the people, or the people will keep going to Apple.

October 27th, 2006 Posted by | Apple, Corporate, General | 2 comments

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  1. I so agree with you. That’s my one major complaint about the SonyStyle stores. I’m pretty much loyal to Sony, they have great service and a good product. When I go to their stores it’s very nice to be in there, but they never show off a product to it’s full potentional. Sony has Media Centre PC’s and their gigangtic plasma displays, how hard would it be to show them off together? I bet they’d make a huge selling of both when they could show how well they function together.

    Comment by Chris | October 28, 2006

  2. I definately agree with you on that one…in fact, not too long ago I wrote an article about the Zune and how Microsoft will fail if it relies on Best Buy employees to sell the product.

    Apple definately has an advantage in that they can create this ultra-hip ambience surrounding their store, as well as controling the experiance that the customer takes away from playing with the product. You really don’t get that at Bestbuy or Walmart.


    Comment by Charlie | October 30, 2006

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