Inside the Microsoft Store

It strikes me as odd that Microsoft thinks they can open a retail store, modeled after Apple, and have similar success.  Until Microsoft starts making their own products — both the hardware and the software — there will never be a reason for them to open a retail store.  Especially when you can buy “their” products everywhere else already.

John Smits of San Clemente bought a laptop at the Mission Viejo store, lured by a discount he found out about on Facebook. But he said the Microsoft Store lacked the exclusivity that draws consumers to the Apple Store.

“Everything sold here can be bought somewhere else, likely for a lower price,” Smits said. “There is no exclusive product here to pull me in. But at the Apple Store, there’s all kinds of stuff I can’t get anywhere else.”

One problem, he said, is that though the Microsoft Store sells dozens of computers, made by many different companies, the options are largely limited to what’s in the store.

“What if I want the Samsung laptop but I want a bigger hard drive? What if I want a larger screen?” Smits said. ” Best Buy has more variety, better selection. And any computer company has more options online.”

What Microsoft needs to do is start creating their own line of tablets, laptops, desktops, media players, to sell along side their Zunes, Xboxes and new mobile phones.  So long as a Microsoft tablet is built by Samsung or Dell or Toshiba, well, I think of the product belong to that company even if it’s running Windows 7.

With that said, Microsoft should absolutely be in the retail game, with stores similar to Apple.  It’s about spreading their brand.  I just don’t think they have any idea what their brand is anymore.  [via df]

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