WHAT? Microsoft is Opening Stores?

We really weren’t expecting to see an announcement like this.

Microsoft is planning a “worldwide” rollout of retail stores and has hired David Porter, a former Wal-Mart executive who spent 25 years at the retailer. Beyond that, details are sketchy, but you can read Microsoft’s press release here.

Of course, comparisons are already being made to Apple’s stores, which have enjoyed wide success, by all accounts, until recently. Why wouldn’t Microsoft want more control over its brand, like its smaller competitor?

But what about this timing? Is it just crazy to start a worldwide rollout of a new retail chain in a recession when most outfits are closing stores, or is Microsoft dead on, considering that it might be able to score more affordable leases?

10 Responses to “WHAT? Microsoft is Opening Stores?”

  1. 1 James February 13, 2009 at 7:57 am

    This news is so refreshing, Recession be damned this a good time for Microsoft to start dipping into its huge cash hoard. I will be interested to see how they solve the sales personnel problem. Software stores in the past have had a real problem finding people knowledgeable in computers and software who also have a personality suited to sales. Seems that computer Geeks either can’t or won’t communicate at a human level with ordinary techno idiots like most of us. Apple had a mysterious and sophisticated product to display in an Art Gallary type approach to merchandising, what kind of spin can one put on a software box?? I guess I will have to wait and see.

  2. 2 lilly golden February 13, 2009 at 8:50 am

    It’s a great time to rollout stores as Landlord’s will offer much better deals now than they will once the economy recovers.

  3. 3 Glenf February 13, 2009 at 9:27 am

    And then if you have problems with their product, you can just throw it through the front window like the lady in the Discount Tire commercial does!!

  4. 4 Derrich February 13, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Ditto on the timing. They ought to be able to secure some great rates and incentives.

  5. 5 ClimberX February 14, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Agreed. If you’re going to try to win the lottery, it’s best to do it with the cheapest ticket possible. That said, Microsoft’s brazen disregard for opportunities to learn from its past mistakes is impressive, and it continues to pay off. While Apple has earned its loyal following by largely perfecting the integration of its well-conceived, well-designed hardware and software products while Microsoft, by comparison, has consistently pushed product to market before its ready through heavy marketing and illegal bundling. I bet they are going to try to be sexy and cool and exclusive like Apple, and may be able to make a go of it for a while given the lease rates they’ll be able to negotiate, however; the right decision — for the business, mind you, not the country — would be for them to partner with Walmart, opening locations in all their stores nationwide. Those are the only consumers they can really fool.

  6. 6 Smiley1 February 17, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Makes me smile to think MS is going to give retail a crack…as they can’t seem to get their hardware and software right…interesting is the best word I can come up with at this moment. We shall see.

  7. 7 DD February 17, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Very exciting to hear of new retail activity. Concentration should be in Texas where there is still job growth. There are plenty of prospective retail employees out of work to fill sales jobs.

  8. 8 Bassman February 17, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    To Lilly Golden….You are correct!!!!

  9. 9 Cityguide February 18, 2009 at 1:30 am

    It’s very telling that most posters think it a good idea to open stores because Microsoft can get good lease rates, not because they have a compelling product to sell.

  10. 10 Bassman February 19, 2009 at 11:49 am

    cityguide… the reason to rollout stores IS because of the product… much like Apples’ success with its retail stores. our comment is merely that their decision is timely and will benefit the bottom line as they secure great lease rates. Obviously you don’t decide to rollout stores soley because of rental rates….

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