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Microsoft 'Hut' Opens Outside Seattle Apple Store 262

Posted by samzenpus
from the competition-on-your-doorstep dept.
theodp writes "On October 20th, Microsoft will open its 14th store in Seattle's popular University Village shopping center, where it will go head-to-head against an existing Apple Store. To help build buzz for next week's grand opening, Microsoft set up a temporary Kinect-equipped hut within spitting distance of the Apple store, a guerrilla marketing effort designed to catch the attention of the throngs flocking to the Apple Store for the new iPhone 4S. Microsoft will up the marketing ante for next weekend's grand opening, transforming the parking lot between the two stores into a concert venue for performances by The Black Keys and OneRepublic. Any bets on whether the concerts will drum up more business for the Zune Market Place or the iTunes Store?"
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Microsoft 'Hut' Opens Outside Seattle Apple Store

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  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Sunday October 16, 2011 @04:03PM (#37733160)

    buthurt much? who the fuck cares, its not like this one store is going to break MS or Apple.

    And by hundreds of miles behind apple, do you mean in the shiny object hipster yuppie market? Because the majority of the real world seems to show otherwise.

  • by bjwest (14070) on Sunday October 16, 2011 @04:28PM (#37733316)

    And xbox live is governed by corporate pigs.

    And nothing Apple does is governed by corporate pigs?

    Nope. Apple is governed by hipster hogs.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday October 16, 2011 @04:31PM (#37733330)

    Microsoft's had a Kinect hut set up on Red Square at the University of Washington for several weeks (since the week before school began). It's been popular - not "waiting in line" popular, but there's always someone playing in there. Well, hold on, there are 35,000 students at UW so maybe it's not all that popular...

    In any case, I'm sure they'll get good attendance at the Kinect hut; and if they're selling games in the Microsoft Store I'm sure a goodly number of people will be in there looking. From what I've seen and heard, though, it's unlikely there'll be much crossover success with regards to Windows computers. I know several Mac users who own XBox 360s, but I've never heard any of them say "you know, I think I'll try Windows again because my gaming console is just so great!" People compartmentalize their technology. Most of the Windows admins I know own iPhones (seriously, none of them own an Android or a Windows Mobile phone) - and I've never heard any of them say "I like my phone so much, I think I'll buy a Mac!"

    I'm sure a lot of customers will stop by on the way, listen to some music, maybe play a game... and then go on into the Apple Store.

  • I believe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crumbz (41803) <<remove_spam>jus ... CKWARE>gmail.com> on Sunday October 16, 2011 @04:32PM (#37733334) Homepage

    this just proves that Microsoft doesn't get it. For all there R&D dollars and for all their marketing dollars, piggybacking off of Apple places them in a poor light, a "hey look, we are relevant too" kinda light. Apart from the OS space and the occasional Windows phone, Microsoft and Apple are no longer the direct competitors they once were.

  • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Sunday October 16, 2011 @04:49PM (#37733418)
    For MS it might not be so much a store but a means to get mind share. Apple has lots of cool gadgets. Microsoft: Xbox 360 and ... no that's it. The rest is productivity stuff, and large corporate software. Sure there are games, there are phones running WinPhone etc.but it won't be nearly the same experience as an Apple store where you go in and see one companies shinny products I think. Where it could help Microsoft is give the brand a "face". "I like Office better than LibreOffice because that nice guy in the store spent an hour showing me how to use it" kind of thing.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday October 16, 2011 @05:01PM (#37733476)

    There's a post in the Seattle PI's "Microsoft Blog" [seattlepi.com] that shows the location for the actual store - it is indeed right across the parking lot from the Apple Store.

    I can understand why Microsoft would want to do that, I guess, in terms of symbolism - but I think it's a terrible business mistake. Whatever you think of Microsoft and their products, you can't believe they've got the same cachet that Apple does. People aren't going to be hunting them out - but MS has picked a spot with seriously bad visibility from most of the mall. University Village isn't a big enclosed mall - it's an open-air space where most of the shops are scattered among smaller buildings that open straight onto parking lots. The Apple Store is on a side lot that's set back somewhat, but it at least is visible as people are driving through the lot from the 25th Avenue entrance (plus people are going to be looking for them anyway). Someone coming from that entrance and driving straight in won't even see the Microsoft Store - as they pass that side lot, the MS Store will be behind their left shoulder while the Apple Store will be in front of them.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday October 16, 2011 @05:55PM (#37733782) Homepage
    I think Microsoft realises it's not cool and that on PCs it has its position purely because of its legacy support.

    What else do they have?

    Kin - failure

    Zune - Failure

    Windows Phone 7 - it's creaking along gaining a tiny bit of market share one month and losing market share another

    Kinect - everyone except gamers seem to like them and buy them. At least they're selling them but I'm not sure I'd want to make Kinect games.

    Xbox - It's a success in that it's not losing money but is that because it's awesome or because everything is an expensive proprietary add-on and its whole online model is built around milking you for money (ie MS points, subscription based, no web browser and most services requiring a Gold account) and even then it's only really a success in North America. Because of this the Wii has blasted right past it to first place and despite all of Sony's monumental fuck ups and launching 1 year later MS only lead of a few million over Sony. Any little foul up in the next generation could leave them dead last. They could still end up in 3rd place in this generation if it lasts much longer.

    Microsoft using legacy support to tie users to their OS worked really well for Windows. Windows will probably always be number 1 for at least another decade. But I think they've really damaged their reputation with Windows. Allowing OEMs to install any sort of crap on top of Windows and allowing them to put it on machines that weren't really up to the job of running it just makes windows look bad. So I think when people don't require some legacy Windows app they go elsewhere.

    Some of those people I think are then realising that actually they don't need Windows, love their iphone and then get a Mac so Apple's market share has been creeping up even if there isn't any chance of it over taking MS any time soon. So I think they are a bit scared with times changing and think having a propaganda to push nothing but Windows will some how help.

    In a way I think it will only hurt because from everything I've read MS stores seem to be (or were) more expensive for Wintel machines so they'll end up looking like they're ripping off customers.
  • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Sunday October 16, 2011 @06:52PM (#37734114) Homepage Journal

    What original thought did Microsoft have 10 years ago? Even 20 or 30? Microsoft has actually built some good software on occasion, but they have never had an original thought since Bill Gates wrote a BASIC interpreter on paper tape in 1975.

    Actually, MSR has plenty of original thoughts, but what just like Vegas, whatever happens in MSR stays in MSR.

  • by Wamoc (1263324) on Sunday October 16, 2011 @08:12PM (#37734522)

    You go into a Microsoft store and you see PCs that you can get elsewhere for cheaper. Where's the incentive to buy from Microsoft?.

    The reason the computers in Microsoft Stores are more expensive is because they run Windows Signature which does not contain the bloatware that comes on machines bought from the manufacturers, and is also tuned for optimal performance on that machine. To my knowledge, the Microsoft Store is the only place that will sell the machines with Signature, but I could be wrong in that regard.
    Disclaimer: I do work for Microsoft. I also expect suddenly everyone on Slashdot will probably try to burn me at the stake now...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 16, 2011 @09:43PM (#37734970)

    The premise of this article is that Microsoft is putting a store right in Apple's face. Microsoft's first store is in the Bellevue Square mall less than 100 feet from the Apple store, so this is nothing new.

    I stop in both stores often to check out the latest. There are some intersting things in the Microsoft store. My iPhone 4 web browser gets very sluggish when displaying complex web pages (mmo champion specifically), as did my three Android phones (AT&T N1, Verizon Droid, Verizon Droid-X). The windows phone is much faster in this regard and quite easy to use. I havent played with enough to determine if it's as usable as an iPhone yet but it is in the same ballpark.

    Elsewhere in the store Microsoft has touch screen systems for people to play with, XBox with Kinect, and the commercial Surface device (a 36" multi user touch screen thing marketed at bars). Comparing the two stores Microsoft is more inviting and is way more fun. They're beating Apple here in both product lineup and in the store's handling of customers.

    Over the last many years Apple has completely humiliated Microsoft in the consumer market: The ubiquity of the iDevices and coming from behind to overtake Microsoft in market cap. You can see by comparing the two stores that's still happening: Apple's store is packed, Microsoft's is not. But looking at the product lineup, staff attitude, and the improving usability of their products I dont think Apple is leading on merit any longer.

    It appears to me Microsoft has figured out what it takes to compete and is giving it the college try. They may still lose despite their merit because of market acceptance or some issues I'm not seeing. I am very curious to see how this will unfold. I do sincerely hope that they do well enough to cause some feirce competition, it would be good for us as consumers.

  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:31AM (#37735724) Journal

    To be honest, they're pretty slick.

    I've seen this comment about a lot of MS products lately, like the Office ribbon, Win 7/8, Mango, etc. Problem is, once you press the Microsoft evangelists on what they actually DO better, they can't tell you (and instead just get their mod-squad to downvote the comment to oblivion). As a result, Kinect is one of the rare products they have which is even vaguely inspiring.

    Between that, and antics like this Kinect-hut, you'd have to say Apple has spooked them so thoroughly they're putting all their efforts into making shiny products instead of effective ones.

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