Microsoft has begun hiring Apple-trained retail managers and employees for its own soon-to-open fleet of Microsoft stores, according to a report from The Loop. Citing sources who spoke with him, the site said Microsoft is offering "significant raises" to these prospective employees, and in some cases, moving expenses.
These sources said that those managers who were hired away were tasked with poaching top retail staff, again with the offer of raises over what Apple is paying. Together, this team of former Apple employees will have the great honor of peddling Windows and possibly managing the Guru Bar.
In some cases, they may get to do this next door to or near their former employers -- in a word, that should be fun.
Microsoft allowed the news of its answer to the Apple Store juggernaut to leak earlier this year. Apple has used its stores to help significantly increase its market share in the computer market, and to help launch waves of iPod updates and the now-exceedingly successful iPhone.
For its part, Microsoft appears to feel that the best way to counter this new threat from Apple is to emulate the model that Apple has made work so well. What better way to do that, then, than by hiring as much of the team that mans Apple's stores as it can.
We should also add that such poaching is common practice in the world of high-dollar, corporate retail, though the practice doesn't often seem quite so ironic.