Kevin Turner, Microsoft?s Chief Operating Officer, announced the company’s plans to open retail stores near existing Apple stores this fall. Microsoft had hinted at opening retail stores last February but nothing more was said. After Kevin Turner’s comment during a web conference yesterday, a Microsoft spokesperson said “There will be scenarios where we have stores in proximity to Apple.” It looks like the PC / Mac wars will get a lot more interesting this fall.
Microsoft had opened a small retail store in San Francisco about 10 years ago but it went out of business. Apple’s retail stores are hugely successful. Microsoft will have a lot of trouble overcoming the “i” factor with its stores. Apple’s advantage is that it makes the hardware that runs its software. Microsoft on the other hand just makes the Windows OS. It does not manufacture PCs. So its retail stores will likely end up selling DELL and HP PCs.
If Microsoft decides to only sell MS software at its stores, the idea is doomed from day one.