Microsoft isn't getting retail right

posted by Jeff | Monday, October 28, 2013, 8:50 PM | comments: 0

A new Microsoft Store opened near us recently, so I figured I'd go check it out. I haven't been to one since we moved from Washington, where the location in Bellevue was the closest. That one had some amount of decent traffic to it, but that makes sense given the location.

The one in the Mall at Millenia (yeah, they spell it wrong) is smaller, and unlike Bellevue, dwarfed by the Apple Store in the same mall. I wanted to check out the new Surface Pro 2. It's a pretty cool device, very chunky for a tablet, or small for a laptop, depending on how you look at it. I'm not sure who the market is for that, but it's very cool.

That said, the place was a ghost town. I think there are a number of reasons for that.

  • There is no one brand, outside of the Surface and Xbox. That means they have to somehow mash together stuff from the likes of Nokia, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, Asus, etc. How do you do that?
  • One way you don't do it is have a bunch of crap that's already last season. There are a lot of really cool laptops and tablets out now, none of which are shown in the store. How do you compete with Apple when they've got stuff the day it's announced? I want to see the new Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, with it's crazy high resolution screen, but you won't see it there.
  • The stores have epic launches, with rock concerts and big PR splashes, and then nothing happens. And maybe that's because there is no story to tell there. Sure, they hired away Apple people to design the stores, but a lot of good it does you if the product isn't interesting.

I try to be a fan for my former employer, because I think that despite the nonsense problems, there really are good people there making great products. It's a shame that they can't seem to get them in front of real people who would be excited about them.


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