Leaked Microsoft Retail Docs Reveal Answers Bar/Guru Bar/Windows Bar

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Microsoft is planning on answering Apple's enormously successful Genius Bar with one of three concepts, the Answers Bar, the Guru Bar, or the Windows Bar, according to a PowerPoint presentation leaked to Gizmodo Friday. The site published the full presentation, which Microsoft spokespersons commented weren't necessarily final decisions.

"As a part of our process in briefing creative agencies, we shared some early prototypes and concepts of our retail store plans. No final decisions have been made. As we previously announced, we are on track to open retail stores this Fall."

Microsoft has long been looking for the best way to combat Apple's fleet of Apple Stores, and so far the company has indicated it will have locations next or close to an Apple Store. If the concepts outlined in the leaked PowerPoint presentation are used, the company will also borrow much of the stores' layout from Apple.

For instance, there will be demonstration tables in the middle of the store, and different sections separated out to promote "Windows 7," "PCTV" (Windows Media Center), and "Windows Mobile and Netbooks."

Apple is not alone in being borrowed from -- and it's important to remember that Apple borrowed from The Gap for its own Apple Stores, including hiring key Gap executives to assist with its store design and implementation -- with the documents saying the company looked to Nike, Nokia, Sony, Apple and AT&T for inspiration on what to do.

Non-Apple elements include a wraparound video screen around the entire store pushing Microsoft marketing messages, Xbox-interface kiosks, and the ability to pay to have your birthday party at a Microsoft Store.

You can see all 54 slides in the presentation at Gizmodo, and a thanks to Loop Insight for the heads up on the plans to have Windows Gurus.

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>Microsoft is planning on answering Apple’s enormously successful Genius Bar…<b><b>Well, no.<b>Imitate, yes. Answer, no.<b>This really is just another “flail” event. Where’s the revenue? Where’s the plan? There’s none. This is just panic.


Microsoft is planning on answering Apple’s enormously successful Genius Bar…

Well, no.

Imitate, yes. Answer, no.

This really is just another ?flail? event. Where?s the revenue? Where?s the plan? There?s none. This is just panic.


We can only hope that Microsoft pours billions into retail stores. With very little thought to why Apple is successful, no products of their own to sell other than Windows and Office and Technical Support that will be a huge drain on resources with little return on revenue, the stores are bound to fail. What’s more they will keep MS focused on non-core tasks that will prevent them from regaining their mojo.


I guess the big questions ares what OEM computers MS will use to showcase their OS and other products?  Will customers be able to buy say additional RAM or a larger HD at the Windows store?  Will the store stock or even recommend higher end hardware?

Unless MS suddenly starts to manufacture their own product line, these stores will be the next tower of Babel!


So MSFT is the new ChuckECheese. Wow. Brilliant.


They should call it the window sill..


They should call it the window sill..

Or maybe window shill. :D

OMG, it’s the death of Apple for sure—(whine, whimper)—I’m so afraid…



O M G, I soooooooooo wanna have my birthday party there!!!!!!


Microsoft had only one legitimate product that wasn’t a copy cat of Apple, and that was Dos OS. Other than that they have copied Apple ever since. They got lucky in there many years, then they got stupid and over confident and became a Monopoly that bullied other vendors until that finally came to a head. Now with no more bully powers, and viruses, spyware run amuck. They can’t do anything right. Wasted 7 years on a failed OS called Vista by trying to twist everything around inside, yet still no performance gains, still virus and spyware ridden. Now Apple has the legitimate upper hand with true innovation and great products, great software, and a winning retail chain that can’t be matched. But yet again here comes MS, thinking that they can make it work by copying Apple and placing stores next to Apple stores like that is going to influence anyone, NOT!!!! But hey let do it, I’ll be laughing when they go bye, bye in 6 months to a year. They will be overwhelmed at the Guru bar and just frustrate there customers even more I’m sure.


O M G, I soooooooooo wanna have my birthday party there!!!!!!



When Apple had its OS problems, it had the sense (took a while, but got there) to realize and change course. Copeland (and others) died and we now have Mac OS X.

Microsoft is still trying to perfect a basically insecure system.

Good luck, guys.


This move by Microsoft was predictable.  When have they done anything but copy Apple. (badly)

Ballmer is a salesman, not a visionary.

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