Friday, February 13, 2009
Microsoft: The Retail Store
MICROSOFT TO OPEN OWN RETAIL STORES
At Cornish, most of the design department uses Macs except for a few of us lowly interior design students who have PCs. So a lot of my time is spent in full-on Mactopia. But as pretty as Macs are to look at, I've never found them to offer any significant advantages to Windows PCs. They have some things that are nicer (sleek design, um... and I'm sure there is more) and some that aren't (I'm not a fan of their operating systems and they always feel slower to me). I also recently traded in my iPod for a Zune and I've been really happy with that decision so far.
Since my partner is a diehard Microsoft fan (and employee) I've got a slightly more inside perspective on the "software giant" and easy access to their products. Although I like a lot of their stuff (Zune, arc mouse, Office 2007, even Vista), on the advertising front Microsoft as a brand always appears to be clunky compared to Apple. So I'm curious to see what they do with this new foray into operating a retail store.
A lot of the comments on the article I linked to were negative, but I don't necessarily think it would be an automatic failure. My advice would be to really think about the overall concept for the look and feel of the stores and products that will be sold there. Apple's success comes as much from their products as their commitment to a consistent design aesthetic, whether in their iPod nano or their retail stores. Both of these things offer a similar experience. Microsoft has been all over the place and even though the company is around thirty years old at this point, it still doesn't have a strong brand identity in the public sector.
Will they orient it around the X-box? The software? The Zune? The keyboards and mice they offer? I'm curious to see how this will turn out.