Microsoft Plans Head-to-Head Battle with Apple Store

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Microsoft is planning to go head-to-head, or maybe toe-to-toe, against Apple with a retail store across the parking lot from Apple’s University Village Apple Store in Seattle, Washington. The company confirmed the store through its Facebook site on Wednesday, writing on the caption of the photo below that the store will be coming sometime this Fall.

Microsoft Store is Coming

Coming Soon, Posted by Microsoft on Facebook
(Click the image for a larger version)

“From the top of the Space Needle, it looks like good things are on the horizon for Seattle,” the company wrote. “Particularly since the Microsoft Store is coming to University Village in the fall!”

It was Geekwire that noted the store’s proximity to the Apple Store, and while it won’t the first time Microsoft has opened a store in the same mall as Apple, it will mark a somewhat higher profile for the competition between the two companies. University Village is an outdoor mall, and both companies will have large store fronts visible to all passersby.

University Village is an upscale shopping mall that serves, in part, the University of Washington. The Fall schedule for opening the store will be in time for both eventual holiday shopping as well as Fall semester shopping for students at the University.

In addition to having competing stores, the two companies will have competing back-to-school promotions, as well. ZDNet noted that Microsoft is offering a free Xbox 360 with the purchase of a PC costing US$699 or more, while Apple is offering a $100 iTunes gift certificate with the purchase of a qualifying Mac.

University Village Apple Store

Apple’s University Village Apple Store
Source: Apple

Microsoft’s University Village store is part of a big push by Big Redmond to beef up its retail presence. The company announced on July 13th that it will open some 75 new retail stores over the next two or three years.

Microsoft PowerPoint Slide

PowerPoint Slide with Future Microsoft Retail Locations

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Okay, these stores are expensive to setup and open, they operate at a significant loss, the platform is in decline - and they plan on opening more stores?

MS is notoriously absent on the the iOS and Android platforms. They might be hanging their hat on Nokia but the reality is that if their many divisions and diverse products aren’t able to translate to the post-PC era, they will be left behind for more agile competitors who aren’t enslaved to a particular platform.

The trend lines are all against Microsoft in the mobile space right now and even if they come out with a winner, dislodging the entrenched leader with it’s expanding ecosystem (music, movies, apps, and iCloud) is the equivalent of scaling Mt. Everest with a pickaxe and a windbreaker.

There is no reason why Office should not be on the iPad. There is no reason why CRM shouldn’t be accessible from an iPhone or an iPad or Xoom or TouchPad (okay, I’m being generous here). There is no reason why Dynamics information shouldn’t be visible within an HTML 5 compliant browser.

I’m seeing a huge need with businesses today to have up-to-date information to make critical business decisions. You can’t wait for email or until someone takes the time to create a spreadsheet. And this information needs to be accessed at an airport, on the road, or in a meeting. Executives would rather click an “On” button and get at that info in seconds rather than booting up a laptop, connect through VPN (after you figure out the network connection), and then navigate applications to make it happen.

The world has changed and I’m not yet seeing the change from Microsoft to meet those challenges. Like the senior football star that can’t get past that final game, Microsoft still seems stuck in 1995.


Microsoft has succeeded int the past by leveraging one of their ubiquitous products (MS-DOS, Windows, Office) to take over the market from another company’s successful product (usually Apple’s). it will backfire in this case because they have nothing to leverage and will just appear to be a cheap copycat.


Dodged a bullet, my state isn’t among those being accelerated. Phew. smile

Engine Joe

I live quite nearby University Village.  The Apple Store there is fairly unimpressive and small (of course, I might be spoiled by my years living in NYC and visiting the stores there… and then there’s London, Chicago, etc, all better).

I think Microsoft is being relatively canny by doing this here.  Apple has made some serious inroads here, but the region is MS-land, what with the Redmond Campus being just across Lake Washington.  If there’s a place where they can outdo The Apple Store, it is probably here (particularly given the “meh” Apple Store).  So MS is presumably hoping to outpace them in this spot and turn it into a PR opportunity.

Even with all that, I doubt it will happen.  But I can see the calculation.


Oh Microsoft Microsoft, why are you doing this to yourself?
Look, you have your OS running on over 92% of the worlds PCs and a damn near monopoly on office suites. Do you really need more than that?

You want to be “cool” and “boutique” too? My best advice to you: Don’t try to be cool. Just don’t. You didn’t become a corporate giant by being cool, but by making smart business decisions.

This plan is neither smart nor cool.


Same mall = let Apple do the location research.

Copying again the look and feel of Apple = lack of vision, creative talent.

Grasping at straws = Gates jumps ship before the passengers realize the company is sinking?classic!


Methinks that whoever made the acceleration map for MS doesn’t know his/her/their rectangular states. I would bet that the marker in Wyoming was meant to be in Colorado (Denver metro). On the other hand my hometown could be a token site showing that MS is daring to do something different than Apple.


Wheee! A new “reality show,” this time a comedy! (Snagglepuss voice:) Farce, even!

Ehh, bored already. The stores will stay in business, even at a loss, just to save face. Closing them would be deeeep humiliation.

Anyhow, with concise eloquence, Sarah already said anything else I’d thought of bringing up.


This isn’t really that hard to explain.  Microsoft’s biggest hit, Windows, was a blatant copy of Apple’s Mac.  Their lesser hits, Word, Excel, and Internet Explorer, were also pretty much copies of Word Perfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and Netscape Navigator.

All Microsoft has ever done is shamelessly copy successful products or buy them out.  It worked great for them in decades past.  Now it isn’t working at all.  But it’s the only strategy they know, and so they just keep doing it and hope it starts working again.

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