Everybody Hates the Microsoft Store
Ever since the first news of Microsoft stores were leaked, people have been hating on it. You can't read an article (or the occasional video) without someone mentioning how they look just like Apple stores. I've read one article that proclaimed that the Microsoft Store was the 'saddest place on earth'. One blog post I read felt that Microsoft was a failure for daring to go into the brick and mortar business. And I'm not going near how that they are built (most times in the vicinity ) of an Apple store (Which you have to remind people is done because they are in attractive, high traffic areas; that's why alot of clothing stores, car dealerships and restaurants are usually near one another).
My thing is why are they hating?
Do they think Microsoft should just stay in the Office Max's and Best Buy's or worse Wal marts of this world? Leave the job of promoting their wares with their OEMs (some of whom have stores)? Or is Apple need be the only game in town.
I think not
Microsoft is creating stores for about the same reason Apple did, reaching customers in a more direct way. Think about the experience of buying a computer today from a Staple's, a Best Buy, or an Office Depot. Think about the store layout. Most store that sell electronics are designed for someone to quickly grab an item and go; computers are set up on little , cramp shelves are physically locked down and may or may not be logged in (so you can test them). Now some stores (where I am Staple's and Best Buy) have dedicated areas for devices for looking at and test driving computers, but they aren't the focus of the store; they are there to get you in buy a device (with accessories) and tech support. and even in these situations its not pretty. Best Buys (again here where I stay) have gone from having tables set up for computers (laptops/desktops) to tablets (for the first big Tablet rush) to now having some things on the tables (in various condition) or shelves (which makes it uncomfortable to view).
And these are newly built stores. So tell me is this a good place for Microsoft to reach customers? Now compare that experience to going to an Apple store. Apple stores are boutiques (specialty shops). They are designed and built for a customer to have a less rushed experience. They are built with the idea that you or I will actually come in and touch and play with computers. So they have chairs for sitting in, Tables at heights that allow you decent viewing angles. They are well lit, with everything spaced to allow for access. The employees are fairly knowledgeable. And the devices are both logged on and are in good condition.
So which gives you the better experience? Which is more conducive to buying? Apple created stores in part because of this and the want to get closer to consumer's; and this is something Microsoft wants and needs also. So yes they are similar, most stores in similar categories are. A Microsoft store designed like a Office Max may play well into images of the company but would stick out in a Mall or outlet. Microsoft is now realizing that they need to create relationships beyond just OEMs and box stores. They need to connect to people.
And think about what you get with these stores; actual help and assistance (for people who are not going to spend time or want to learning to properly use a computer), services (no more tech support), and best yet no more bloatware.
Microsoft is trying to reach consumers, grow its base, and advertise its ecosystem. Its changing to meet competition. That's not a bad thing. Also they had a store before Apple (in San Francisco).
And its funny because reports are that Apple stores aren't hurt by having Microsoft stores out there and that Microsoft stores are doing fairly well. So why so much hate? Its like some in the tech community don't want to see competition.
So haters will hate; I want a Microsoft Store in Tennessee