It had to happen, Microsoft has announced plans to open its own Microsoft branded outlets, there is no information on details but David Porter, who used to work for Wal-mart, is enlisted to spearhead this effort.
Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said, “We’re working hard to transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience at retail by improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition so that it’s clear, simple and straightforward for consumers everywhere.”
It looks like Microsoft is showing keen interest in Apple’s operations lately. Before the retail store, we have an iPod like Zune. And Microsoft recently announced an App Store like service for its Windows Mobile platform called SkyMarket. And the just announced My Phone syncing service looks similar to MobileMe. And iPhone touch features is coming to Windows Mobile too. And no doubt many Mac users would find Windows 7 somewhat familiar.
But retail store is in a territory that is not familiar to Microsoft. Gateway, Palm and Dell boutique stores have come and go. The success of Apple Store is hard to copy. There is no other tech retail store at the moment that is as successful or even come close. Apple open its first store back in 2001. And today it has 251 retail stores with nearly 16,000 employees. 41 of its stores is outside of the US. It is interesting to see if Microsoft could pull it off, especially during this difficult times.