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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2008-04-14, 16:20



Man, they really do that whole "follow Apple" thing, don't they? This is taking it to a nutty extreme...

http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?op...769&Ite mid=1

From the article:

Quote:
Our sources close to Microsoft have confirmed that the company wants to reach out for the retail market presence. Microsoft wants to open and create many retail shops dedicated exclusive to Microsoft and its products.
Yeah, goodness knows they need to get that marketshare and "recognition factor" up a bit.

Quote:
This is something that Apple did with its many Apple retail stores around the world.
Yes, because you can't buy Macs and Apple software at every chain department store, electronics outlet and pisspot grocery store in the known universe like you can Microsoft's. There was an actual reason (beyond "it'll look cool as hell!") to Apple's retail initiative; it kinda had to be done. Where can't someone go and get Windows, a Microsoft mouse or other Windows software in any sort of town in the U.S.?

Quote:
Microsoft will put its retail people in the shops with hope that these skilled people will be able to show the true Microsoft experience.


Yikes, they'd better not...



IMO, "the true Microsoft experience" isn't something you'd open a damn store over, to share with others. Yeah, they'd better be "skilled people".

A store where nothing works right the first two times you try it? Yeah, we've already had those...they were called CompUSA.

I can't wait. That'll be fodder for a kick-ass home movie (comparing the stores of the two giants).

A few early predictions:

Apple: Genius Bar
Microsoft: Solution Station (I would say "Saloon" but surely even they wouldn't go that far...)

Apple: Giant iPhones in front window with simulated interface
Microsoft: Giant Zunes in front window with real frozen screen

Apple: daily free classes in iLife, iWork, Leopard, switching, etc.
Microsoft: Three-hour $45 course in virus protection/system maintenance (sign me up...sounds like a hard-on waiting to happen)

Apple: Store packed on weekends...all ages, races, genders, actually buying stuff
Microsoft: Three customers (one admiring giant Zune despite frozen screen, and two others asking staff why their "brand new $#%^(#@ mouse made their printer driver disappear")

Apple: Large white glowing logo on storefront, beckoning the faithful and the curious
Microsoft: Gaudy blue, red, yellow and green neon surrounding entire storefront, luring guys thinking "a titty bar opened up next to JCPenney!"

Apple: Check-out registers using iMacs for cash-drawer/check-out
Microsoft: Check-out registers using iMacs for cash-drawer/check-out

Apple: Looping "lifestyle" footage, or iLife tutorials shown on rear movie screen
Microsoft: Rear screen gets its feed from the same source as the Zune in the front windows...frozen, or blue as hell.

Apple: Employees walking around in matching T-shirts
Microsoft: Same thing, except two employees (on rotating shifts) have to don Clippy "mascot uniform", walking around, bugging the two customers with "it looks like you're wanting to buy that keyboard; do you want help?"

Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2008-04-14 at 16:34.
  quote
ctt1wbw
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Seaford, VA
 
2008-04-14, 16:59

Can you imagine the total geek level and dorkiness of the people in there? They'd talk about nothing but playing games like WoW or something, or brag about their Pentium is 3.2 gigs and your shitty one is 3.0 gigs... Give me a break.
  quote
Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2008-04-14, 17:31

Apple: Kids area with a little table and bouncy chairs and iMacs running kids' software
Microsoft: A dark corner of the store with a milk crate full of used toys and a sign that says "Noobs"
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2008-04-14, 17:36

I'm going to take a position completely opposite pscates and say this is a very good thing for Microsoft and for consumers in general. I'm going to lay out my theory, which proposes that it isn't at all just a shallow attempt to mimic Apple's retail success (though in reality, it probably is).

Basically, what is it that most Mac users complain about most with Windows? The inconsistencies. Well, there are a lot of things (of course), but Mac users really like the phrase "it just works," and the reason why Macs usually "just work" is because Apple maintains tight control over the hardware you have available to you. There are only so many hardware configurations a Mac user can have, so it's easy to support all of them.

This is different from Windows, where there are a virtually unlimited number of possible hardware configurations. That makes support really, really hard.

But think—what if Microsoft had a retail location where they could control exactly what hardware and software gets put on the shelves? Heh, see where I'm going with this now?

With Vista, MS has been going nuts with these "Certified for Windows Vista" labels for hardware and software alike. I think it's the best they can do to try to make things a little more consistent for people. Sort of like how, way back in the 80s and early 90s, Nintendo used the "Official Nintendo Seal of Quality" to indicate games and accessories that they had officially licensed. No seal, no guarantee of reliability. Of course, a lot of stuff is still going to get the seal (or in this case, the "Vista-ready" sticker) and still be crap, but that's unavoidable. I'm sure there's a lot of bad OS X software out there too that still bears the OS X logo (not sure what they use now, if it's still a blue X or if they've switched to something else).

MS has so much money they can kind of do whatever they want and see how it works. They might try to recreate the Genius Bar experience—though I'm not sure how they'd pull it off given the exponentially larger number of Windows users combined with the greater number of problems they tend to have—and I wouldn't blame them. Genius Bars, I think, have really helped Apple. Maybe MS will try to capture some of that. And if it ends up helping to educate people on how not to royally f*ck up their computers, that's a good thing.
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apple007
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: May 2006
 
2008-04-14, 17:39

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctt1wbw View Post
Can you imagine the total geek level and dorkiness of the people in there? ...
As opposed to here?

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apple007
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: May 2006
 
2008-04-14, 17:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca View Post
I'm going to take a position completely opposite pscates and say this is a very good thing for Microsoft ...

Basically, what is it that most Mac users complain about most with Windows? The inconsistencies. Well, there are a lot of things (of course), but Mac users really like the phrase "it just works," and the reason why Macs usually "just work" is because Apple maintains tight control over the hardware you have available to you. There are only so many hardware configurations a Mac user can have, so it's easy to support all of them.

This is different from Windows, where there are a virtually unlimited number of possible hardware configurations. That makes support really, really hard.

But think—what if Microsoft had a retail location where they could control exactly what hardware and software gets put on the shelves? Heh, see where I'm going with this now? ...
Perhaps, but I think you've gone wrong by blaming the "unlimited number of possible hardware configurations" for Windows' bad reputation. To me, if you strip away all third-party accessories and applications, the Mac OS not only "just works" but it's a joy to work with. But Windows, under the same no-third-party apps/accessories scenario, is still clunky, user-unfriendly and a generally joyless experience. (In other words, in Windows' case, you can neither polish a turd, nor cover it up with third-party helpers.)

(EDIT: I'm seriously not trying to resurrect the old Mac OS vs. Windows debate with my comments above. All I was trying to say is that the Mac OS, out of the box, provides a great experience, while Windows, out of the box and absent any third-party apps, still seems incredibly user-unfriendly, and not much fun (if any) to use.)
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Satchmo
can't read sarcasm.
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
 
2008-04-14, 17:58

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca View Post
They might try to recreate the Genius Bar experience—though I'm not sure how they'd pull it off given the exponentially larger number of Windows users combined with the greater number of problems they tend to have—and I wouldn't blame them. Genius Bars, I think, have really helped Apple. Maybe MS will try to capture some of that. And if it ends up helping to educate people on how not to royally f*ck up their computers, that's a good thing.
These MS Geniuses may have their hearts in the right place, but inevitably, someone with a hardware configuration that is so obscure or modded that they'll simply end up saying, 'we can't help you'.

At this point, MS is grasping at straws. There doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason, focus or vision. They're simply reactionary these days. Opening up retail stores will only raise comparisons with Apple, bringing further embarassment to MS. While MS is still a powerful force, it's certainly a far cry from the 80's heydays.
  quote
torifile
Less than Stellar Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2008-04-14, 18:44

Quote:
Microsoft: Three-hour $45 course in virus protection/system maintenance (sign me up...sounds like a hard-on waiting to happen)
Sounds like a Cialis ad, actually. Or priapism, more like.
  quote
Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2008-04-14, 18:47

Quote:
Originally Posted by apple007 View Post
Perhaps, but I think you've gone wrong by blaming the "unlimited number of possible hardware configurations" for Windows' bad reputation. To me, if you strip away all third-party accessories and applications, the Mac OS not only "just works" but it's a joy to work with. But Windows, under the same no-third-party apps/accessories scenario, is still clunky, user-unfriendly and a generally joyless experience. (In other words, in Windows' case, you can neither polish a turd, nor cover it up with third-party helpers.)

(EDIT: I'm seriously not trying to resurrect the old Mac OS vs. Windows debate with my comments above. All I was trying to say is that the Mac OS, out of the box, provides a great experience, while Windows, out of the box and absent any third-party apps, still seems incredibly user-unfriendly, and not much fun (if any) to use.)
I agree. Windows is never going to be as user-friendly or reliable as OS X, even if their places were switched and MS were the ones severely curtailing the number of supported hardware configurations. However, they can still try to improve things. To claim that MS shouldn't even try is utter folly, when you think about how much Mac users criticize Windows for being unreliable. Maybe they just want it to stay that way so OS X stays superior, but I think improving reliability by trying to get a little more control over the hardware people use can benefit everyone. Even Mac users, since everyone has to work with Windows users at some point.

Basically, the way I think MS sees it is that the release of Vista was an opportunity for a clean slate. Wipe out all the old XP crap and try to do things a little better this time around. It'll never be as good as OS X but it can improve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satchmo View Post
These MS Geniuses may have their hearts in the right place, but inevitably, someone with a hardware configuration that is so obscure or modded that they'll simply end up saying, 'we can't help you'.
Oh, this can happen with Macs too. Look at some of the tech support questions we've gotten here. One poor guy bought a game for his Mac only to realize later that the game was so old it doesn't run on OS X. There are plenty of Mac users out there who have really old computers and try to get them to work with new software, and in some cases it just can't work.

Obviously, the same thing can happen with Windows machines, and it can get harder in that most Windows machines allow you to replace nearly every component. So while a Mac user might bring in a 300 MHz iBook running OS 9 wondering why he can't play World of Warcraft or watch YouTube, a PC owner might haul in his ten-year-old Gateway 2000 and ask why he can't get this new graphics card he just bought to work in it. There are certainly many more possibilities that can crop up when you look at Windows users and the crazy problems they might bring in, but it's not exclusive to Windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satchmo View Post
At this point, MS is grasping at straws. There doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason, focus or vision. They're simply reactionary these days. Opening up retail stores will only raise comparisons with Apple, bringing further embarassment to MS. While MS is still a powerful force, it's certainly a far cry from the 80's heydays.
I sort of agree with this. They do seem to be more desperate these days, and they're casting their net as wide as they can in an attempt to catch something that could possibly make them some money. Who knows what'll succeed and what won't? The Zune failed miserably, and looking back, it seems they weren't even trying. The Xbox and Xbox 360 still have an uncertain future, with 360 sales slipping compared to the PS3 amid sky-high failure rates.

MS's situation seems a lot like the U.S. military's situation these days. They're still the king of the hill, on paper, but they're spread too thin and it's exposing all these vulnerabilities that weren't visible before.

Anyway, to clarify my own personal opinion on this matter: I don't know if it'll work. I agree MS is in sort of a tough spot and I'm not really defending them so much as coming up with a plausible explanation for why they're doing this. This is to counterbalance the "zOMG MS is copying Apple!" posts.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2008-04-14, 19:02

It's not a bad thing to point out the obvious, though.

I don't mean "copying Apple" (and I'm certainly not upset by it) in any serious, mean way, or like it's the ruin of anyone. But be super-honest: does anyone here think Microsoft would even consider this without the success of Apple's stores as a template/"inspiration"?

I honestly don't think that they think that way, in some sort of strong, independent way. I really don't. If Apple only sold Macs from their website and a few stores (Best Buy, etc.), I can't imagine this rumor about Microsoft retail even existing. I just can't.

"Copy" might seem to "nyah-nyah", but I believe with all my heart that Redmond looks southward to Cupertino way more than they would ever, ever admit. Way too many "oh, Apple does this and it worked...let's investigate that arena a bit" instances in the past 5-6 years to believe otherwise.
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