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Microsoft Reportedly Poaching Apple Retail Staff 375

Posted by kdawson
from the well-wouldn't-you dept.
Eugen notes an article up at Ars reporting that Microsoft, besides copying Apple's retail formula, is now going after Apple's retail employees. "Microsoft is reportedly trying to hire away Apple's retail employees by bribing them with... wait for it, better wages. 'People that have spoken to The Loop on condition of anonymity confirm that Microsoft has contacted a number of Apple's retail store managers to work in their stores. In addition to "significant raises," the managers have also been offered moving expenses in some cases.' It doesn't end there: once the ex-Apple managers have jumped ship, they are asked to contact their top sales employees at their old workplaces and offer them similar positions at Microsoft's retail stores, also with higher pay. ... If you work in an Apple store near a soon-to-be-opened Microsoft store, apparently the software giant is giving you a free pass; no looking through job postings necessary!"
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Microsoft Reportedly Poaching Apple Retail Staff

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  • That's the market. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <philip...paradis@@@palegray...net> on Monday September 21, 2009 @11:55PM (#29500107) Homepage Journal
    I wouldn't go for it (and I don't work for Apple), but money is money I suppose. For many, job satisfaction outweighs wages, to a certain point. There's also the time already invested in the current position to consider; even if you're not completely satisfied with your current gig, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.
  • Brilliant (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @11:56PM (#29500111)

    Apple store staff are the high priests of the Mac faithful. I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them take jobs with M$ just to secretly turn customers off to Windows.

  • by DirtyCanuck (1529753) on Monday September 21, 2009 @11:56PM (#29500113)

    Poach Justin Long, FTW.

    Everybody has a price.

  • Good idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:17AM (#29500291)
    I'd love for another company to see my work and offer me better compensation at a new job

    Perhaps this is the only way I wish my life was a little more like Dilbert
  • wrong approach... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bedheading (175574) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:19AM (#29500307)

    Why this will fail: Apple's staff are only able to do their jobs (selling Macs, increasing brand loyalty) due to the tools they have- the product. If Macs and the software that runs them weren't so fundamentally appealing to consumers it wouldn't matter who was walking the floor- nothing would sell. Apple's sales approach is distinctly hands-off anyway. If this is how Microsoft hopes to copy Apple's success, they are approaching it completely backwards. Besides, Apple's managerial staff typically comes straight from places like the GAP, Target, and other large corporate retailers. Microsoft would have better luck looking at similar places.

  • Re:Brilliant (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:28AM (#29500367)
    I think it is a story because we all see the Mac Store employees as being interchangeable with any other employee working in a mall. Thus, it seems that they are offering more money with no good reason.
  • by wickerprints (1094741) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:30AM (#29500385)

    While this is mostly true, it's also beside the point. Microsoft doesn't care about whether their hired retail staff will know anything about Windows. They already have huge market share. People buy Windows because they are either (1) too ignorant and scared to use anything else (be it Mac or Linux), or (2) they are gamers and have no need for people to sell them a Windows box, they'd buy it anyway. The entire point of these MS stores is to say F**K YOU APPLE. It is ALL about leveraging Microsoft's vast financial resources to hurt Apple as much as possible. They don't care if they lose huge amounts of money doing it. That is why Zune exists, why their advertising is all about underpricing Macs, why they propose opening stores right next to Apple Retail Stores, and now why they are actively trying to poach Apple Retail Store management. It is warfare, pure and simple, because Microsoft senior management knows they have lost the innovation battle. They've lost it for the better part of this past decade.

    Many companies--not just Microsoft--don't simply use their wealth to generate more wealth. They also use it to actively deny their competition from succeeding. Profit is not the only motive in a free market. Sometimes--perhaps quite often--success is measured in terms of how completely and efficiently you are able to punish others for even daring to go up against you. You don't have to win outright, just make your enemies suffer more than you. And that kind of attitude is perfectly exemplified by what we already know about Ballmer's chair-throwing, monkey dancing personality.

  • by Quothz (683368) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:32AM (#29500393) Journal

    I wouldn't go for it (and I don't work for Apple), but money is money I suppose. For many, job satisfaction outweighs wages, to a certain point. There's also the time already invested in the current position to consider; even if you're not completely satisfied with your current gig, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

    That's all true, but there's something to be said for getting in on the ground floor. Microsoft is trying its best to recruit the top salesfolk, and these're guys and gals who might well have their eyes on management slots. Joining a new, well-funded operation can be a good lure for the upwardly mobile.

  • by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:35AM (#29500419) Journal

    They're paying people more for their expertise. Why are we upset about this? This is really a stretch as far as Microsoft hatred goes on Slashdot.

    They're looking for retail managers with comparable experience and offering them higher wages. Nobody has ever refuted that Microsoft was a better employer than Apple.

  • Re:Somedays... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quantaman (517394) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:57AM (#29500539)

    I wish anything Microsoft does would still surprise me...

    Yeah! How unethical of them to try to hire workers away with better pay!!

    This isn't particularly newsworthy, I don't think it's unusual for retails stores moving into an area to go after the employees of their local competition. It makes sense for MS to go after employees experienced in the market they're entering, I'd expect they're looking for employees from any technology retailer, not just apple.

    Heck, this is giant corporations competing to hire the little guy, this is the part of capitalism we're supposed to like!!

  • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:59AM (#29500549) Homepage Journal

    It's interesting that they are initially hiring the managers, and not the salesmen, something which hasn't really been addressed in this thread. They're not after the salesmen, at least not initially, they're going after management. That makes one wonder if the motive is (A) to drain the management at apple or (B) to enhance it at microsoft? (or both equally?) Third possibility is that they don't care so much about the managers and are only interested in hand picking out the cherries in the retail or genius bar area as stated in the article.

    All of this comes as no surprise to anyone. MS has already done what they do best, copy success. They did it with the ads, it only makes sense that they're doing it in the retail stores, best they can. It'll probably turn out as well as it has been for the most part lately... poorly.

    Tossing my wild speculation into the pot, I'd say it looks like they want to see if there's something superior about apple's way of managing a retail store that they can assimilate into their stores, by way of transplanting a few managers over. The salesmen really don't matter in this, it's the managers selecting and hiring the salesmen that counts. There's too much churn in retail to accomplish much by stealing your competition's retail staff, and the gains are too short-lived. Should be interesting to see how this new application of "embrace, expand, exterminate" works for MS... (and I'm interested to see how Apple reacts to it? pay raises? no compete agreements? both?)

  • by eggnoglatte (1047660) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @01:07AM (#29500609)

    I know MS isn't particularly liked around these parts, but how exactly do you conclude that these people will be less happy at MS than at Apple?

    This is retail we are talking about. Sales people tend to be extremely flexible as to the product they try to sell. Its not like they actually have to use the products they sell.

  • Bribery? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Starcom8826 (888459) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @01:07AM (#29500613)
    Since when did paying people more for a job to get them to come to your company become bribery?
  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @01:10AM (#29500627)

    >Microsoft has OS, Dev Tools, Software and ...........no iPod, iPhone, Accessories, Laptop or Desktop hardware worth speaking of at the moment.

    Zune HD, HP laptops, Thinkpads, Office, Windows upgrades, HTC WinMo phones, Xbox 360, etc. The same way I can get third-party software and hardware at the Apple store.

    They of course wont be selling any of these. Like Apple these consumer goods are props. They will be selling you a lifestyle. I expect MS to heavily promote the "home digital hub" solution theyve been talking about for the past 3 or 4 years. A Windows home server + Xbox plugged into the tv, Exchange at work, WinMo in your pocket, Zune in your ear, Win7 on your laptop, 25gigs of free skydrive space, etc.

    I also expect classes on MovieMaker, Outlook, WinMo, Win7, Bing, etc to be big.

    Essentially, its retail as advertising. As capitalism ages everything essentially becomes the fashion industry. All style, perhaps a chance of substance.

  • by BBCWatcher (900486) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @01:13AM (#29500641)
    Yes, Microsoft needs staff for its stores. But Microsoft's whole "me too" retail strategy is about trying to disrupt and interfere with Apple's business model. That's the reason why Microsoft is trying to place their stores in close proximity to Apple's, for example. And if Microsoft can increase Apple's retail staffing costs, Microsoft would consider it money well spent. In short, Microsoft is all about trying to drag down Apple, not building up Microsoft.
  • by HycoWhit (833923) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @01:18AM (#29500665)
    Not only is Microsoft helping to bring higher wages to the retail sector--but who better to sell against Apple, than the best of the Apple retail staff? If anyone can do a good job exposing the gaps in Apple's armor, I would think it would be the folks Microsoft is hiring.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @01:30AM (#29500731)

    Plus the Apple Stores have been an undisputed success story in a field littered with failure (Dell, Gateway, etc.). Microsoft is smart to hire folks that have some experience with what's been successful. I doubt it has much to do with what OS they use at home - heck, Microsoft stores may very well have a small space devoted to their Mac software.

    I'm not a fan of the Redmond folks, but this looks like a smart business move on their part.

  • Good for Them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @01:34AM (#29500753) Homepage
    As much as some of us may hate Microsoft, this is a good thing for Apple employees. For those that leave for Microsoft, they will presumably get better wages. For those who don't, this will pressure Apple to give them more compensation or other benefits and perhaps rethink the value of their employees. Fair competition is a good thing.
  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @01:52AM (#29500849)
    "Nobody has ever refuted that Microsoft was a better employer than Apple."

    I suppose it depends whether you'd rather produce a quality product you can stand behind, or make loads of money by ripping off the public at large. The quality of the work has something to do with being a better employer after all. I know I'd rather work for Apple.
  • by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @01:57AM (#29500871) Journal

    Yeah, I hear it's really fun when Steve Jobs wanders into peoples' offices and starts threatening them.

    I'm sorry, but I work for money and benefits. I completely disagree about Apple making quality products- they are simply a well polished technology recyclery.

  • by indiechild (541156) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @02:23AM (#29500987)

    I don't think people are saying it's a bad thing as such. I think most just think it's amusing and it perfectly illustrates how MS lacks innovation and just copies what other companies like Apple are doing, despite the best efforts of MS fanboys to defend them.

    Instead of coming up with your own high quality products and ideas, just muscle in on other people's. That's the MS way.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @03:52AM (#29501333)

    That's all true, but there's something to be said for getting in on the ground floor. Microsoft is trying its best to recruit the top salesfolk, and these're guys and gals who might well have their eyes on management slots. Joining a new, well-funded operation can be a good lure for the upwardly mobile.

    You also have to consider the future of the company - has Apple shot its load, or are there other must-have products in the pipeline? And a Microsoft store? Ever heard of Gateway stores?

    The entire reason for Apple stores were those tiny niches at a CompUSA and other places, where Apple was relegated to the background as an afterthought. They wanted a place to showcase their products and not be presented as second-fiddle or second-tier. Also, it's a place for people to play and gawk at their stuff, play toys for gadget geeks.

    Microsoft may have some things, but Xbox and Zune is at every Walmart. What exactly do they have to showcase that isn't at the big box stores (Yeah, I know ipods/iphone is at walmart, but the notebooks aren't...)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @05:11AM (#29501645)

    Money balanced by free time means that you have the facsimile plus time to live the real thing.

  • by TRRosen (720617) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @05:23AM (#29501679)

    thats like leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers to play for the Detroit Lions (with all due respect to Mr Foote)

    Really like I'm going to leave the most successful retailer in the country to join some faltering companies crazy retail experiment.

  • by Omestes (471991) <omestes AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @05:32AM (#29501719) Homepage Journal

    Stop OS trolling,

    The current offering from MS aren't bad, perhaps not quite as good as the offerings from Apple, but they are getting close. The only real difference in these stores is that Apple offers labeled hardware, and MS offers 3rd party hardware (PC wise). The software offerings are mixed, Win7 is about as good as OS X (pains me a bit to say that), the Zune is basically what Apple is pushing (limited storage space, lots of superfluous extras), without the benefit of iTMS and iTunes (which is sad), but hardware-wise about the same. Most of MS's 1st party software is much better than Apple's (sans iLife). All of the peripherals are the same, whether in an Apple or MS store.

    What is the difference, besides the fact you like Apple and hate MS? Same hardware, different brands. Different OSs, same quality (good). Roughly the same quality non-OS software. Both mostly closed source and proprietary. Both giant, monolithic, corporations. So where is the basis for the "Lexus/Rambler" analogy? The only real difference, outside of roughly similar OSs, is one has an Apple logo, and the other has a... 3rd party logo.

    No, before the flames come in, I'm not a MS "fanboi" (please add a fair amount of scathing derision to the term); I'm currently running a MacMini, an Ubuntu laptop, and a Windows box (currently Vista, but first in line for Win7, the first MS OS that I've actually liked), I spend roughly equal time on all of them, and like all of them roughly equally, and find all of them about equal in general stability and security (given proper know how, and lack of ignorance). I find both MS and Apple's business model to be equally sad, as well (imagine their places switched). I personally find any level of OS elitism to be a rather depressing sentiment on the behalf of the person expressing it. I see anyone who claims any OS is better as a blanket statement about of the same intellectual caliber as a girl I once know who had a Nike tattoo... No, this isn't a compliment.

  • Re:But why? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @06:18AM (#29501893)

    I'm so sick of this shit. Times are the same as ever for everyone who still has a job.

  • by oogoliegoogolie (635356) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @06:50AM (#29502003)

    One major determinant of job satisfaction is the reason why you work where you do, and if that reflects why people use each company's respective products, it'll go something like this:

    People who work at an Apple Store work there because they want to .
    People who will work at the MS Store will work there because they have to .

  • by mario_grgic (515333) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:31AM (#29502181)

    It's so much cheaper to hire a manager, and ask them who their top sales reports were and hire them immediately, than it is to interview all the sales people and find out who were the best sellers.

  • by plover (150551) * on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:54AM (#29502281) Homepage Journal

    What exactly do they have to showcase that isn't at the big box stores?

    Geniuses. The complaining that goes on with PCs is that they have problems. Apples have problems too, but they have nice, friendly geniuses at every store. You don't whine about an Apple problem that lasts for six months, you bring it to the store and the genius fixes it for you right there, in the store. Microsoft needs to get support people in the field to do the same thing.

    I don't know if it'll help, or if it's too little too late. People have 15 years of (mostly true) perceptions of PC's being "buggy". But the promise of quick fixes is going to keep a lot of customers happy, and that might be enough to get them to buy Windows 7, or Office 2007, or whatever they're pitching next.

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:02AM (#29502727) Journal

    I agree, and I'm failing to see the news in the story here - the pro-Apple spin ("poaching" etc) is painfully apparent.

    (I bet if this was the other way round, the story would be citing it as proof that employees want to work for Apple, and saying that therefore Apple were great employers, and how nice they are.)

    I'm also confused at the snide dig of "besides copying Apple's retail formula" - so they invented some special retail now? My, is there anything that Apple didn't "invent"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:11AM (#29502825)

    And just because your problem is simple to fix means you get to skip ahead of someone who was there before you?

    You're the pretentious one.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:36AM (#29503105) Homepage Journal

    In capitalism there is no devil

    I see you've never had to work for a living.

  • by JWW (79176) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:40AM (#29503147)

    Ah, poaching is not pro-Apple spin. It's what Microsoft is doing and more power to them for doing it.

    I know when I look to my former employers to hire away people I call it poaching, cause thats what it is.

    But as is so often stated today "its only business," so tough luck if people leave.

  • by radish (98371) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @10:08AM (#29503461) Homepage

    People buy Windows because they are either (1) too ignorant and scared to use anything else (be it Mac or Linux), or (2) they are gamers and have no need for people to sell them a Windows box, they'd buy it anyway.

    Oh please, give the pretention a rest. Some people use Windows because they prefer it and it works better for them. I'm not ignorant or scared, I just want to use software which doesn't exist on Linux and happen to dislike the OSX desktop. At home I have machines running XP, OSX, Win 7 and Ubuntu - but my primary machines (desktop & netbook) are both Win 7. Personal preference, doesn't make me stupid.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @11:42AM (#29504839)

    I agree, and I'm failing to see the news in the story here - the pro-Apple spin ("poaching" etc) is painfully apparent.

    A lot of people on Slashdot do like Apple products and even some of the other things the company does. That said, I don't see any bias in the discussion here, or at least none that is not justified. "Poaching' is a normal term in the industry, not a slur against MS. I've seen plenty of comments about Google and other companies poaching employees. It just means hiring people away from your competitors or people in a similar field.

    I bet if this was the other way round, the story would be citing it as proof that employees want to work for Apple, and saying that therefore Apple were great employers, and how nice they are.

    This is called empty speculation. You have nothing to support this assertion.

    I'm also confused at the snide dig of "besides copying Apple's retail formula" - so they invented some special retail now?

    Umm, you don't think opening stores with a "Guru bar" where people can come and ask experts questions from within the retail store is not just a little bit influenced by Apple retail stores where you can go to a "Genius bar" and ask experts questions? I'm sorry but you have to be biased as hell to not see that as copying Apple's retail ideas.

  • by realisticradical (969181) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:15PM (#29505327) Homepage

    That's the reason why Microsoft is trying to place their stores in close proximity to Apple's, for example.

    I wonder if that's the type of thing that will be good for the sales of both companies. Sort of like having the "auto mile" where lots of car dealerships are. When you're in the market for a certain type of product you go to the place where lots of competing stores are. It makes comparison shopping easier. Instead of going online or to BestBuy a customer might just go to the place where the Apple and Microsoft stores are because they can evaluate all their choices in one place.

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