∞ Seriously Microsoft, a Guru in your retail stores?

I really need to stop being so surprised at the lengths companies will go to to copy the success of Apple’s products, culture, and now apparently, even its retail stores. Leaked documents reported last week by Gizmodo revealed that many of the elements Microsoft would adopt for its new retail initiative closely resembled those of Apple. Let’s not kid ourselves, it is an Apple Store with Microsoft products on the wall.

According to the photos of the proposed store there will be a Windows 7, PCTV and Smartphone sections along the walls. In the center will be tables with products on them labeled Learn, Connect and Info.

Now we move to the best part. The Microsoft Store will have a Guru Bar. This must be where you take your computer to have the Genius’ — oops, sorry, Guru — take all of the viruses and malware off your system.

I’m sure there are other uses for the Guru, too. Like, fixing up those nasty driver issues and defragmenting the hard disk.

Behind the Guru Bar is a widescreen video system and a theater for events and third-party demonstrations. There’s also an Xbox, Accessories and Software section on either side of the theater.

The design proposal is apparently done by a company called Lippicott, a design and brand strategy consultant firm.

Microsoft, these are not original plans. All Lippicott did was walk into an Apple Store, copy the concept and send you the plans. Fire them now.

Microsoft must know that copying Apple and trying to compete with them on that basis will not work, right? They didn’t do that with Windows… wait, yes they did. How about the Zune, that was original… no, actually it wasn’t. In fact, they couldn’t even copy that right.

Hey, the Xbox, that’s fairly original. I really do like my Xbox, except when it dies every few months and I have to send it away to be replaced. Luckily they have a whole team of people setup just for that purpose though.

Seriously, Microsoft, be original and stand on your own two retail feet.

  • Eric

    I’m betting the thing that isn’t copied from Apple will be the fact that the MS store won’t make more money per square foot than Tiffany’s.

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  • kevin

    Microsoft’s firm belief, since windows 1.0, is if it kinda looks like the competition it’s as good as the competition just cheaper. And they’ve been able to fool a lot of customers, especially companies that only look at the bottom line, that this is true.

    Microsoft always screws up the implementation. This means the Guru will be trained by Microsoft’s MARKETING group, not support, and will tout upgrades and more money as being the solution.

    I also notice you don’t mention the XBox. That’s a pretty big hole for a Microsoft Store, it’s their only popular customer purchased hardware. I wonder what they’ll do if someone brings in a XBox with a red-ring-o-death.

    • kevin

      OK, I’m an idiot. You do mention the XBox.

  • Well, actually, copying Apple by creating Windows did work out sorta well for them.

    In fact, copying success has always been a pretty good strategy. It may not be the BEST strategy, but it’s always been a pretty good one.

  • Frank

    There may not be a red phone; that puppy would be used way too frequently by the Gurus

  • Jim Hancock

    Not to worry. Since the Microsoft stores will be right down the street from an Apple store they can just have their customers run down to the Genius bar to get their answers ;- )

  • John Davis

    I think the Microsoft Store chain is a wonderful idea. It’ll give them yet another way to bleed cash. If they could just put their Mac envy to one side and concentrate on their core strengths, they would have no problem.

    I’m reminded of an Eddie Murphy comment on a stand up comedy routine. He was talking about white people dancing. “Why do you even try?” he said. “Just face it, you can’t dance!”

    Microsoft, why do you even try to innovate? Just face it, you can’t do it.

  • Lippicott? More like Coppicatt.

  • It’s pathetic that no one in Redmond seems to have an original thought in their head. Pathetic but not surprising when you look at who’s running (or should I say ruining?) MSFT these days.

    Just like its leader, the most innovative thing MSFT can think to do when faced with declining market share and revenues is to stick its tongue out at the world and pretend that its customers don’t know any better.

    Can you imagine the lines at that “guru” bar? LOL.. They are going to make the lines for iPhones seem insignificant. I’m sure MSFT will claim that as a huge success, then close the thing down a few weeks later when they realize that all it actually is is a condemnation of their buggy software and a drain on their pocket book. I mean, let’s face it, they are not going to pick up the cheque on that one for long!

    This is going to be another PR disaster!

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  • I don’t understand why this is seen as such a horrible thing. The constant battle between these two Software Giants is fantastic. This is what free enterprise is all about. Let them battle and I hope neither of them wins. People from MS and Apple have said that they both try to adapt what is successful about their competitors. Good, please do. That means that the consumer wins. This competition only drives better products and lower prices. Apple has already had to cut their Apple tax quite a bit, and MS has completely redesigned their OS. Apple’s are now cheaper, though they still have a ways to go on that front, and MS’s OS is better and more secure, though there are still improvements to be made.

    Both of these companies innovate on their own as well as borrow from other companies’ successes. Let the free market work the way it was designed and we all win.

    • Jan

      Amen to that! I don’t know why people bitch about who is copying who, its like a JC Penny opening next to a Dillard’s, they both sell clothes but they gotta beat each others prices. And as someone mentioned earlier “can you imagine the lines at that “guru” bar? LOL. They are going to make the lines for iPhones seem insignificant.” isn’t that the point? Doesn’t any store want their potential costumers to come in their stores where there is a statistically higher chance of them actually buying something? What Apple needs to do is stop acting like an exclusive boutique and more like the business it is, while some people enjoy the “exclusive” treatment most people just want to get their hands on a computer they like without the boutique price tag. Apple should also offer more developer incentives to encourage a wider range of software for the Mac. And for goodness sakes, stop the “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” commercials. They degrading to computer users of every kind making them seem like idiots, especially since a PC is not just something that runs Windows; A Mac is a kind of PC too (Personal Computer for those of you who somehow forgot). Further more, they just seem immature to me, like two little kids bickering over who has a better bike. Of course this is all IMHO but I think that if Apple took some of this advice they would start taking a chunk out of Micro Soft’s user base in a hurry. And THEN we would see some interesting things (Good for us the consumers) happen with the PC market that may even have a bit of a domino effect on the rest of the electronic market.

      Sorry for the rant by the way.

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