∞ Microsoft poaching Apple store managers and sales staff

Microsoft is beginning to look to Apple for more than just inspiration for its retail stores, the company is now also starting to hire away its retail employees. Apple Store ClarendonPeople that have spoken to The Loop on condition of anonymity confirm that Microsoft has contacted a number of Apple’s retail store managers to work in their stores. In addition to “significant raises,” the managers have also been offered moving expenses in some cases.

Once hired, the ex-Apple employees are then contacting some of the top sales people in the Apple retail organization offering them positions at Microsoft retail. They have also been offered more money than what they made at Apple.

It was revealed in July that Microsoft would model its stores after Apple’s. Microsoft will include a Windows 7, PCTV and Smartphone sections along the walls. In the center there will be tables with products on them labeled Learn, Connect and Info.

Of course, Microsoft will also have a “Guru Bar,” modeled after the Apple Genius.

The fact that Microsoft is poaching Apple’s retail employees is a smart move. Whether it will work or not remains to be seen.



  • iphonerulez

    What MS is doing makes a lot of sense. Those managers will sell out in an instant for more money since almost nobody is loyal to their companies. It’s a no brainer. They will all become “free agents” and defect from the Apple team. I envy them. I doubt if Microsoft’s retail scheme will be as successful as Apple’s. They’ll always be a step behind and the clientele is different.

    • Tom

      It’s a brilliant move. If MS offers these folks substantial pay increases, most of them are going to go for it, because retail employees don’t get paid all that much to begin with. Let’s see how Apple responds.

      • charli

        how is Apple going to respond, probably by doing nothing. I highly doubt that their managers are on contract so if they wish to leave, they can.

        Unless of course managers are on some kind of legal non-compet. then again, the stores claim they aren’t told jack about upcoming stuff so if that is true,there is no real worry. Apple’s service style ain’t that different than many other places so it’s not a trade secret to protect

        course when this experiment fails, they aren’t likely to all get their jobs back. oops. oh well

    • Michael

      Apple has done with it’s retail stores exactly what they’ve done with their products. They’ve re-imagined it from the inside out, transforming the ordinary into a best-in-category experience. It’s the difference between products that are a joy to use and those that are endured. It’s what accounts for the palpable giddiness you sense at an Apple store. Making purchases or getting information is amazingly streamlined. Prompt knowledgeable help. No cash registers. Paperless receipts. If only more retailers emulated what Apple has figured out.

      Microsoft on the other hand, has built its empire on cheap, clunky imitations of Apple. Their “laptop hunters” ad campaign is all about how you can get a Windows machine CHEAP! Microsoft is the Walmart of computing. So now Microsoft wants to undo the crappy rag-tag office-supply atmosphere on which they’ve proudly built their reputation.

      I’m sorry Microsoft, but you can’t buy customer enthusiasm for products like Windows 7.

      • Gideon

        Sorry but hardware for hardware specs, a notebook bought from most vendors compared to Apple is way cheaper. Apple charges an arm and a leg for the same hardware, dresses it up in some fancy casing and sells it to fanboys to bleed their wallets dry. You can argue OS, but there are a lot more practical things that run under Windows than OS X, they both work. Your average Joe just surfs the web does word processing most likely on MS Word (a Microsoft product for BOTH OSes), and sends emails from any browser. The same thing can be done with either but Apple charges you a pancreas transplant fee to pay for Steve Job’s transplant. The whole “it just works” campaign just shows you how stupid Apple thinks its consumers are especially with the baby music in each commercial.

        When Apple decides to drop the prices just like how the fan boys are willing to drop their pants, then they’d have a better argument. There is no real value, it’s perceived value. Talk to any Apple sales person and they just all spew the same thing even if you ask why pound for pound they charge significantly more for the same hardware specs. Apple is obviously making a killing off babies, they suckered them in with the commercials.

        • Michael

          I never said PCs weren’t cheap. They are cheap. Cheap, flimsy and covered with stickers. But you’re right, for what many people use their computers for PCs are great. And both PC users and Apple fanboys like me benefit from competition. There’s no doubt the “price hunters” ads drove down prices on Macs and PC users benefit from their imitation of Apple’s OS (XP Vista Windows 7) Well, maybe benefit isn’t the right word.

          I would argue though that Apple’s value is more than perception. There is a reason Apple’s resale value on hardware is so high compared to similar PC systems. Their hardware and software works in a way that a lot of people really love. Sometimes perception is reality.

          My problem with MS is that they just don’t seem to have an original idea ever. And this whole business poaching Apple managers is a real PR debacle.

        • SMACK!

          Man, I’d hate to see you shopping for a car, “Hey, Hardware-wise, this Ford Fiesta is the same as this Porsche, they each got four wheels, headlights, a steering wheel and a stereo… they’re totally the same thing except the Fiesta is cheaper!”

          But the difference of the analogy is that a Porsche is going to cost ten thousand dollars or more than the Fiesta while the Mac will only cost a few hundred dollars more than the PC. For the level of attention to detail and quality that Apple provides in both the hardware and software… I think my credit card can handle the extra few hundred bucks.

          Enjoy your clunker PC. Maybe you can spend the money you save on some virus software.

        • hissyfit

          yeah, what SMACK said! awesome. maybe PC’rs like getting viruses that way it gives them something to complain about. i for one am happy NOT being miserable. i don’t have a porsche but i do have an Macbook.

        • Moons

          Um Gideon your statement is completely false…First and foremost the hardware included in Macs are usually the higher end ones on the market at that time. Example most of your cheap windows machines are still using DDR2 ram when the transition to DDR3 makes much more since. The only mac you’ll find that in is the MacBook. Secondly most PCs are also using low end internal hard drives macs have the higher end. And if you want to compare desktops the iMacs all inclusive design is still no matched in the market today. What Apple perfected 5 years ago Windows based machines are still trying to catch up. Then the processor alone is different in the Mac vs PC world. Although they both use Intel Core 2 duo processors Macs come with the 45nm chip vs PC 65nm chip which is has a slower clock speed. If you don’t know the difference I’d suggest google. So yeah on your hardware debate you would be wrong.

          Then onto the cosmetics. I think Macs come in two colors right now Brushed Chrome and White…Now if I’m not mistaken PCs come in blue, pink, red, yellow, olive, brown, black, white with a little design on it, ect. So if anyone was going for the cosmetic piece you should definitely point a finger at your windows product.

          Then also I’ve talk to many people who have made the switch from PC to Mac and a good number of them say that the only reason they only did the bare minimum on their computers before (emailing, word processing, and web browsing) is because on their PC they were 1 either not aware that their computer could help them do other things past the basics or 2 it just wasn’t offered…When people get Macs they find themselves using their machines more then they’ve ever had.

          And I am currently studying computer engineering so I work with both on an every day basis so my opinion is not obscured at all.

          Mac 1 PC 0

    • imamac

      How fitting is it that MicroSoft has a hiring practice that is modeled after spyware?

  • George

    The problem with managers and sales people jumping ship to work for the enemy is when all the MS stores go out of business, and they will, they will be out of a job. Not much of a promotion once they are out of a job. Also once MS realizes that they all have become glorified support centers with angry angry people in them and are selling next to nothing they will shut them down.

  • Taliesinn

    Can’t Microsoft do ANYTHING on it’s own? How much more pathetic can they be?

  • Mathue

    I guess if you can’t train them properly within your own company it’s best to look outside of Microsoft Retail. Sorta sad when you think about it, THE most powerful software maker ON THE PLANET (can’t afford) can only start it’s new retail venture with people already trained by a competitor? I wonder if that’s how SONY and Toyota got their start in the US, hiring away workers from RCA and General Motors?

    • Fourofakind

      You are an idiot who has no concept of the retail world. Apple did the same when it launched its stores, targeting Bestbuy, CircuityCity, CompUSA and all the the rest. What Microsoft is doing is ‘genius’ (bask in the irony); instead of training up an entierly green workforce (which probably would lead directally to failure placing all the people who would be hired and those currently on the project out of a job) they hire experienced managers and sales associates that they know do well (Apple stores have a surprisingly high customer satisfaction rating) for more money then they are currently making (passing the savings of training a new bunch of idiots on to seasoned employees) the added bonus is they end up putting Apple in the hole they are dodging, Apple will then need to hire a new crew which will probably end up killing their own stores (or a withdrawl from other retail environments still helping microsoft in the long run).

      Microsoft stores will probably do better then many people are suspecting, however I think they would have been making a better decision to tie them directally into other stores such as BestBuy or WalMart and mearly place boutiques near apple stores. (Pissing off that minority even more, I love people who bitch about “Evil Corperations” as they clearly have no idea how economics work ((and are probably poor)))

      -4

      • Larry

        Absolutely, as soon as I walk into my Apple Store I think, boy this feels just like Best Buy. /sarcasm

      • charli

        actually what apple did was a tad different. many of the folks they were ‘poaching’ from Best Buy etc were folks they had certified to be the Apple Expert within that store. which was a position that was dying because they stopped supporting that partnership to have their own stores. so in some cases they were actually hiring folks that were about to out of a job since positions were being cut.

      • Paul

        Use spell-check much? Seriously, more than one misspelling in a post leads me to discount the intelligence and/or professionalism of the poster.

  • Costanza

    I’ve mentioned this before, but I for one am really looking forward to the opening of the new stores. Finally, anyone who asks me for help with their Windows PC – and might have been told by Microsoft support “please talk to your OEM or PC builder” – will now be able to walk right in to the store and ask a real Microsoft staffer for help instead.

    • AdamC

      He will still tell you to bring your problem to the maker of the PC you bought because they don’t own the hardware.

      • Macbook Pro

        Or maybe he will simply take care of it for you. Helloooo? Why would Microsoft, a company that has 95% of the market share, NOT think ahead and foresee these issues that you are all talking about? I highly doubt such a rich company would set up shop with a half-ass game plan as to what they would like their retail stores to accomplish. If Microsoft WANTS to succeed in retail, they KNOW that they will have to out-do Apple. Otherwise, yes, in a matter of a few years their stores would fail miserably. What Apple enthusiasts fail to see is that, yes, some of Apple’s biggest retail managers and workers in general have switched over. Do you really think they are forgetting what Apple retail was all about? Do you really believe that they are going to set out to accomplish anything LESS than everything Apple is and more? I myself am a loyal Apple owner, but the reality is that Microsoft has a gameplan and is going to address and find a solution for every one of your folk’s repetitive complaints.

        • Gil

          What is that all about? Repetitive complaints about Microsoft? What? If your trying to say that Microsoft is actually a clever, innovative company and us Microsoft bashers just can’t see that you’re wrong. They find clever and innovative ways to mimic other company’s successes, by taking their products, ideas, and their people too. Microsoft is just a sad mixed up company.

        • Chai5

          OK MacBook,

          So Microsoft is opening up a store. What are they planning to sell? Zunes? Windows 7? Xboxes?

          No one wants a Zune. They can buy an iPod for the same price or less and have the same features or more.

          How many copies of Windows 7 are hoping people are going to buy? They get a free copy with every new PC—and the new PC cost just a bit more than the upgrade.

          In reality Microsoft has been and always will be in copycat mode. They remind me of the old Soviet Union who saw that the American’s had a space shuttle and wanted one so badly of their own that they actually built one for themselves. The problem was that the USSR had no purpose for a space shuttle and the USSR space shuttle was inferior to the American one (it had to be controlled from ground control–not the cosmonauts). In the end, they mothballed it after one inglorious flight.

          So, Microsoft can steal all of the highly motivated Apple employees they want–aside from Steve Jobs. But without a clear vision and purpose, these people will just devolve into ordinary uninspired Microsoft drones.

        • nwintx

          You are (conveniently) forgetting that this isn’t Microsoft’s first attempt with retail stores. Just as the first attempt did, this one WILL fail miserably, and ALL of the ex-Apple employees that left to go to Microsoft will be jobless. The bright side for Apple is that they will be able to re-hire, if they even WANT them back, their old employees for a cut in pay. I LOVE the idea. Microsoft, BRING IT ON!!! You don’t have a CLUE what it takes to operate a retail outlet, not to mention, NO VIABLE PRODUCTS to sell!

  • nickweston

    oooh a new gawking place to watch some severe customer meltdowns…the next YouTube trend.

    • Jim Dalrymple

      ROTFL

  • Greg

    Hm. They’re going to attempt to do this backwards, by getting the knowledge from the store managers and having them teach the execs, perhaps? Somehow I don’t see how this flies long-term. While at first execs may go “Yeah, just run it the way you ran the Apple store” eventually that will clash too much with Microsoft culture and new mandates that don’t match Apple will happen. Or not. I don’t really know obviously, but I could certainly see it going that way. If they’re going to have an expanding chain of stores, they’re not going to be able to keep growing it by hiring Apple store managers and throwing extra money at them.

    Or, to sum it up, whatever they gain by hiring Apple store employees will likely be lost in translation.

  • Frank

    To quote Yosemite Sam, “Varmints!”

  • http://www.van-garde.com Daniel Swanson

    There is a certain direction and precedence of development of the company we know as Apple, Inc.

    The seed at the beginning of it was the creativity of its founders, the Steves.

    Behind most all the various incremental improvements in the Apple ecosystem–with perhaps the exception(s) of the various deviations made during the absence of Steve Jobs–was this same creative spirit of innovation.

    Apple’s phoenix phase began with the advent of OS X. Apple bet its future on it, in Steve’s own words.

    The inspiration for its retail stores was the result of this same creative spirit.

    Microsoft has no such creative spirit. Never has. Never will. The closest they came was Dr. Frankenstein Gates with his penchant to “create life” by pathetically copying Apple’s “windows”. The form may have been there, but the original spirit has always been missing.

    MS’s copying yet another “form” of the Apple ecosystem in the form of its stores is therefore yet another exercise in futility. They may be able to turn on some lights, but no one will be home.

    Any Apple store employees who stray will only betray their own lack of integrity. Those in chronic doubt of the validity of working for Apple, who see only the “profit” offered, most likely weren’t good assets for Apple, anyway. They will actually be doing Apple a favor by leaving.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Ragosta/1245874505 Joe Ragosta

    It won’t work.

    The success of the Apple store is not simply in the store managers. The entire Store concept is centrally orchestrated and designed to be customer friendly.

    If Microsoft is capable of designing a customer friendly store, they don’t need to poach Apple’s retail managers. If they’re not capable of it, hiring the managers won’t help – unless they give the managers 100% free reign, but that will never happen.

  • http://www.cyclelogicpress.com Partners in Grime

    Is anyone surprised by this? :)

    • jr

      Nope. :)

  • Kevin B

    This article could be just more anti MS bullshit. However if there is some truth to it then maybe MS is simply offering these potential Managers/employees what they are actually worth. Does apple?

    • adam

      The bullshit is Microsoft being unable to have an original strategy that doesn’t involve ripping off someone else’s success by tossing millions of dollars at it and calling it their own!

      If it wasn’t for the 25 yr. old Windows and Office, Microsoft would have folded long ago!

  • D9

    Lord knows Microsoft couldn’t figure out how to do this on their own!

    Ballmer doesn’t mind being a fraud, he just doesn’t want to be called one.

  • http://www.ashim.wordpress.com Ashim

    I don’t think MS can afford Apple employees so they have to make do with Apple store employees.. MS was never great at branding their products, which is where Apple is king. So poaching will not help MS anyway.

  • ZORO

    MICROSOFT IS THE WORLD’S BIGGEST PARASITE.

  • JOe

    It’s too bad that those new MS staff will be jobless in a while, when MS learns that no one’s gonna go to their stores to buy crappy PCs…lol

  • mex4eric

    Based on other rumors, MS will use stores to sell Zunes, Xboxes and probable new MS Netbook along with mice and keyboards/ They want to become a hardware shop like Apple.

  • MattF

    This is just a sign that Microsoft is proceeding in a completely halfassed fashion. It’s clear that someone in the upper reaches of MS management got a bright idea (“Hey, I’ve got an idea, let’s copy Apple”), and thinks the way to success is to pressure their staff to just make everything work (“Hey, if Apple can do it, why can’t we?”). Idiots.

  • http://ejschmidt.com/blog Erik

    I always figured part of the reason the Apple Store concept has been so successful is that employees really love the products they’re selling. From what I’ve heard, they have to go through some pretty rigorous filtering in order to work there. I’m assuming the same is at least partially true of managers at these stores.

    Microsoft will probably have a tough time obtaining the same level of evangelistic zeal with people they pull over from Apple Stores. Better pay is good, but that’s not the only thing, or even the primary thing, that makes a motivated and successful manager.

  • Costanza

    That’s the buck-passing I am frankly tired of Microsoft getting away with. If a user runs into a bug in the OS or the bundled applications, they really better not get the “stiff-arm” treatment from the new Microsoft-staffed stores. PC companies don’t say “well, it wouldn’t be doing that without electricity, so maybe you should call the electric company, we can’t control what comes from them.”

    It seems to me that if Microsoft is going to build its empire around an array of “partners” building WHQL-qualified hardware, that it isn’t right for them to cut and run at the first sign of customer distress – when it comes to software behavior.

  • http://www.wide-eyed.org allgood2

    I’m not certain how Microsoft see’s this working. It’s not that it doesn’t sound good—the Apple employees are well trained and use to giving superior support—so in theory the support end is taken care of.

    But in reality, the best support comes from people who know a product inside and out. People who love products enough to work and play with them. So will Microsoft be forcing or highly recommending that former Apple Store employees purchase home machines and use them exclusively, at least until the know the same detail as their Macs. Or will employees work for Microsoft during the day, and go home to their Macs at night.

    Of course, I’m still not certain what Microsoft will do with the stores anyway, since they don’t really do hardware (at least not the PC variety). How will they choose which vendors get displayed for computers? Will they support any PC even if the warranty is with Dell or HP and not Microsoft? or will visitors have to purchase a Microsoft support option.

  • Tom

    “No one wants a Zune. They can buy an iPod for the same price or less and have the same features or more.”

    That’s really hilarious, fanboy. Read. Learn. Unfuck your brain.

    http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/19/zune-hd-a-major-sellout/

    • charli

      the trouble Tom is that we don’t know how many Zunes these places had. was it one and it sold or one hundred, it does make a difference.

      now give me an article that asserts that X number of Zunes were sold on the first day, weekend, week, whatever and we can talk.

      as for that last night. take your own advice

  • Tom

    I’m amazed at how many morons there are out there. You know who you are: You question why other companies copy other successful companies. It’s really quite simple. Copying other companies’ successes means you can leverage their (sizeable) concept development investment without spending your own R&D money. It’s smart. Let other companies take the risk first. At the end of the day, customers don’t care about copying. What they care about are choices. Understandably, Apple fanboys don’t like the idea of competition, but I’d argue that competition will make both Apple and Microsoft better companies in the long run — and everyone will gain. So, suck it up, fanboys.

    • Yoder54

      You comment is true to an extent, but you left out one vital component…you should have a good product to sell. What does MS have that can even come close to Apple? Not much.

      No need to be so condescending. Many of us Apple users love competition. Many of us were once Windows users, but defected as a result of the inferior products that we were using.

      The issue here is innovation. Apple has always been an innovator. Microsoft has always stolen ideas, bought out the competition, or driven the competition into the ground with unfair marketing tactics. Maybe you need to suck-up into that little brain of yours that there are some who like quality and will settle for nothing less. It is your right as a consumer to purchase inferior hardware, driven by inferior software…enjoy it.

  • kickstand

    Yes, it is well known that power Apple users are intimately familiar with Windows operating system. So the best place to look for Windows gurus would be: Apple store employees!

  • http://ejschmidt.com/blog Erik

    Tom,

    It’s interesting that you refer to other commenters as “morons”, which I doubt you would do if they were standing right in front of you. Or perhaps you would. Everyone’s definition of civility is different, I suppose.

    The point many people here are trying to make is that MS is not, as you say, “Copying other companies’ successes… .” MS is copying a strategy, and they are also now attempting to use not just Apple’s strategy, but their employees. That’s not copying success. That’s attempting to do almost exactly what Apple has done, and hoping it will be successful.

    But Apple and Microsoft are very different companies. A strategy and an implementation that has worked very well for Apple will not necessarily lead to success for Apple. In fact, many of the same people who are now saying Microsoft’s copying of Apple will work are the same people who said Apple’s retail store strategy would never work. What they missed then and missed now is that Apple’s approach is highly tailored.

    • http://www.van-garde.com Daniel Swanson

      Yes, it’s highly tailored.

      I just recalled the various independent Apple retailers and their stores of years ago. There was one in Chicago in Hyde Park which looked more like a used book store. No high volume or mass crowd appeal there!

      Our Tampa Apple store just got renovated. It was store #8 when it opened years ago, and even it is now transformed to a more efficient format which better utilizes its square footage.

      To me, the incessant MS copying of Apple simply betrays MS’s lack of spirit and direction. I’ll be interested to observe the reception Windoze 7 receives. If it tanks, I think we’re going to see a larger wave of switchers. Maybe Ballmer will cash in his chips, too.

      • charli

        you just reminded me. everyone knows that Mission Viejo Cali is one of the new MS store locations right. well about a week ago, the Apple Store there closed for a remodel and according to the local papers would be closed for about 7-8 weeks. which as I recall is about the time the Microsoft store is due to open.

        you don’t think Apple would be ‘competitive’ enough to actually reopen their store (probably bigger and better) on the same day as the Microsoft Grand Opening. And maybe even with something new and cool being recently released to draw folks in (release the Tablet that day as well and watch the fun begin. lol)

  • Michael

    Apple has done with it’s retail stores exactly what they’ve done with their products. They’ve re-imagined it from the inside out, transforming the ordinary into a best-in-category experience. It’s the difference between products that are a joy to use and those that are endured. It’s what accounts for the palpable giddiness you sense at an Apple store. Making purchases or getting information is amazingly streamlined. Prompt knowledgeable help. No cash registers. Paperless receipts. If only more retailers emulated what Apple has figured out.

    Microsoft on the other hand, has built its empire on cheap, clunky imitations of Apple. Their “laptop hunters” ad campaign is all about how you can get a Windows machine CHEAP! Microsoft is the Walmart of computing. So now Microsoft wants to undo the crappy rag-tag office-supply atmosphere on which they’ve proudly built their reputation.

    I’m sorry Microsoft, but you can’t buy customer enthusiasm for products like Windows 7.

  • jr

    Copying someone else’s product is a form of flattery.

    As for the knockers, you live in a country that declares itself as the land of the free. Conversely, as long as MS does not break any laws, so what?

    Don’t get me wrong, I went through 12 years of hell on earth b4 I deserted the dark side. And my experience in the last 5 years means there’s no need to look back.

  • OsMac

    Apple Store Managers let´s take Microsoft´s money and fuck them from the inside out, they won´t even know what hit them! I give MS stores 6 months on the market.

    Apple sells lifestyle on products that are a pleasure to use, heaven on earth. Can´t you get it Microsoft has no style no taste, just look at its CEO (get on your feet! Shame!

  • bill

    Reminds me of the shirt I saw on an apple employee concerning MS last OS – -”Been There, Done That” WHat’s new?

  • Casey

    Here’s how I see it.

    PC’s in most scenarios are great. However, with a Mac you can have both of the worlds. Install XP/Vista/Windows 7 onto it. When you need windows, switch to it, when you need mac, switch to it.

    Simple as that. Besides, even some of the cheapest Apple laptops out power a lot of the PCs available. My old first generation intel iMac still runs Windows XP SP3 no problem, and can run Unreal Tournament 3 and a couple other games and such easily, it beats spending money to buy both a Mac and a PC. All you need is a new intel Macintosh and you can have both.

  • Michael

    …But back to the whole poaching thing. If Microsoft had a sound marketing strategy wouldn’t they know how they wanted their stores run? They come off like Slugworth vivisecting Oompa Loompas for Willy Wonka’s recipes. Besides being a hugely sleazy practice, it shows how utterly clueless they are with their brand. And what’s up with people who defend this idiocy?

  • spielbrot

    Lets do the copy/paste maths correctly:

    To ensure a equal success for the copy/paste Stores, Microsoft need not only buy the staff, but also the content of Apple Stores including the products, quality, vision and image. And yes, dump their own products and idéas.

    And one more thing, buy another Steve from Apple. Money fixes all, right?

  • Kevin B

    I think apple products are well made, tightly integrated and nicely designed — you pay for what you get. I really don’t understand the continual put down of competitor products & operating systems in these bloggs though. I mean, I may drive a BMW and my neighbour a Hyundai but we don’t continually put shit on each other because of which car we drive….unless we’re joking. The whole Apple vs MS thing is really childish and stupid imo…Everyone’s so serious!

    Anyway, If MS is poaching key people from Apple to help support planned retail outlets, then that’s probably smart business. I think MS has failed in the past mainly due unclear product branding and to some degree an ambivalence towards the level of product quality expected before customers, developers and hardware suppliers started to jump ship. Now they know. They can’t blame poor customer experience on ‘lack of drivers’ (someone else’s problem) because, at the end of the day, it is their responsibility for MS products to ‘work’.

    Hopefully, Win 7 will be a turning point, not only in design and performance but with much tighter intergration of hardware and software than what has been offered by MS previously.. Something akin to OSX. No doubt time will tell.

    I personally like the fact that Apple and MS are strong competitors. If not, Apple’s pricing would probably be twice high as it is now. Think about it.

  • Foo Man Choo

    It is done all the time. The only thing new here is the webs ever present eyes and ears.

    Here is google poaching Yahoo employees:

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/yahoo-search-engineers/

  • Michael

    You’re right, Kevin B. All the name calling is childish. But Microsoft is being a big poopy but.

    The reason the conversation veers into Mac vs PC is because this poaching episode speaks directly to Microsoft’s brand DNA. Microsoft = second-to-market, sloppy “me-too” Apple knock-offs. It makes good business sense only to those profiting from the short-sighted business model, but it does little to reassure Microsoft’s customers. It also proves that top brass at Microsoft believe the lie that Apple’s appeal is only skin deep. Instead of coming up with a unique recipe for success they’re going to try to pry it out of Apple’s elves.

    Sure in the short run they will sell more Zunes in an aesthetically pleasing space than they do shoving them into the discount shelf at Sears, but they’ll still be selling Zunes.

  • charli

    okay there’s a lot of snark and some hyperbole going on, so lets take a step back and get a little real

    @Kevin B. yeah, a lot of folks dump serious on both sides. with the Apple and cost thing, there is what some call ‘The Apple Tax’ which I think is generally a BS comment. They act like Apple is marking stuff up just to do it. Forgetting that it’s not just the cost of the components in the math (although that’s generally all they talk about) there’s the cost of the software included, the cost of assembly and shipping, the cost of the staff in the stores and the online center and possibly warehouses/distribution centers, the overhead cost of the stores and so on. Each computer is not just the sum of the harddrive, the logic board and so on. Nothing in retail is. But some folks wanna try to put it that simple and say that Apple is just being greedy and that justifies making Hackintoshes, supporting folks like Psystar etc. but in reality “buying the brand” is more than just a markup cause the company can (that’s one part sure, but only one of several)

    @spielbrot: if by ‘their product’ you mean their attitude toward what they make then yes. part of Apple’s success is that they don’t just cater to the whims of the vocal masses, they do what they feel is best when they feel it is best. Sometimes they falter, like with the firewire in the 13″ issue, but other times perhaps not. Sure they haven’t put built in Blu-Ray support in their machines, but perhaps this was as much about feeling the form wouldn’t stick as it was not wanting to pass on the added cost to the buyers. prior to the recent changes in licensing, they might not have been able to up the specs AND drop the price on their laptops. next go around things might be prime to at least make BR drives a custom switch on some or all machines. and who knows what else. but this is the way that Apple thinks, not just tossing it all at the wall like it feels the other hardware folks sometimes do. Of course we also have to keep in mind that Microsoft can not have the control over hardware that Apple can due to anti-trust issues that Apple’s low marketshare keeps them out of. And who knows, perhaps Windows 7 really is much better than Vista and Microsoft will be back in the game.

    @nwintx: assuming this will fail could be wrong. it is possible that Microsoft has learned from their mistakes and from the successes of Apple and this could work on some level. maybe not the one they think but something. Remember that not everyone believed Apple’s stores would really work either and they were wrong.

    @Michael: Like the ipod (especially the touch) and the iphone haven’t helped Apple weather the storm. heck the phone is probably the gateway drug for a solid third of the switchers coming in over the last couple of years. So if the Zune is what gets folks into the Microsoft store to see what’s up and they stick around instead of being across town to the Apple store for a Macbook and an ipod, Microsoft will likely call it a success.

    @Foo Man Choo: you are correct and it is very possible that Microsoft is pulling from several companies. it’s just that it’s more fun to make it sound like they are trying to fill their stores with (only) Apple folks. so that’s what the webbies are focusing on

  • Phillip

    Microsoft is always into intellectual property theft. What posers

    • charli

      being a video and music editor I’m probably as much an Apple Fanboi as anyone but lets really chill here. Much of what Microsoft has ‘stolen’ has been ideas and those are not protected by any laws. If someone believes they can take something and do it better they are welcome to go for it. Be it having a graphical user interface, a touchscreen phone, an exclusive retail store.

      for all we know all these managers and staff were not actually working for apple anymore when they were contacted or they were folks who could legally walk (thus why we haven’t heard about any lawsuits). maybe they were actually folks Apple is happy to get rid of because they were lazy and ill tempered but never crossed the line of what they could actually be fired for.

      and who knows if Microsoft is hiring only Apple folks as has been implied or peeps from several companies with all managers being told they are welcome to contact former co-workers/employees. it’s just that everyone is so Apple focused that they aren’t talking about the other companies

  • Dubya will rubya…OUT!

    I don’t care if Microsoft manages to lure Steve Jobs away (in fact, a lot of CEOs move around in their career anyway), no one’s going to swap their Macbooks for Windows 7 – LOL!

    I don’t even care if they have gurus with IQs so high that their brains start seeping out of their ears or that they start offering PCs in white, silver or friggin’ mauve — if you like Windows and have never used Linux or Mac OS, then my friend, you can spend your entire earthly life as a closed-minded individual. What a waste of a life…spent updating patches, rebooting the machine, and upgrading virus definition files. LOL@YOU!

  • http://moeskido.wordpress.com Moeskido

    I am very curious to see what sort of customer problems the Microsoft Gurus will be qualified to assist with. Will they perform actual repairs, virus removal, or other diagnostic support like the Geek Squad? How many different varieties of Windows-driven hardware will they offer to have a look at?

    Or will the Guru Bar simply be a place where you get a standard checklist of things to try when you get back home to your Compaq, and a suggestion to upgrade to Windows 7?

  • Dan Scar

    I Guess my though on this would be more to the side of indifference. I think if someone choses to use XP, Vista, Windows 7 then so be it.

    However, a store dedicated to Windows products is a different matter, regardless of them taking apple managers and the like on board. I think Microsoft will probably always be around, but they are one of those companies that no-one really cares about or indeed gets excited about when a product is launched. I just don’t really see the difference from someone walking into PC World or some other shop would be any difference in terms of the hardware and software on offer then a Microsoft shop, oh perhaps the ex-apple staff of course and the layout set-up to mimic apple with Zunes and who-cares what else.

    I dont really care about Microsoft, I don’t really care if they do employe apple staff, It doesn’t change the fact there products feel dull and lifeless (in my humble opinion). - Like any other shop that holds no personal interest, to me walking into a Microsoft store would be the same as walking into a shop that sells plastic bags. Yes they are usable, yes they are sold as a convenience, but they are not interesting and they are not.

    Apple /vs/ Microsoft will go on for an age, and its funny to watch the shit fly from its /fans/. Im neutral in so much I choose apple because I love the OS, i enjoy the enthusiasm in products and the desire to move forward.

    I’m sorry monster company or not, Microsoft doesn’t emit any such things. Perhaps the odd tiny spark that dies before it even begins.

    I very much doubt this news will effect Apple in the slightest. If they keep moving forward, offering great customer care then the people will continue to buy, because apple as pulled itself slowly and surely out of Microsoft’s shadow and now Microsoft are starting to feel the pressure somewhat.

  • Michael

    It’s likely that part of Microsoft’s strategy is to dilute the Apple store brand by association. “Yeah Apple’s pretty cool, but we’ve got a similar store across the street that sells computers even cheaper, and our products are covered in colorful stickers!” So even if the stores fail they will succeed in tarnishing the Apple stores’ unique experience.

    Competition is great. But we all know Microsoft and they are just pissing in the pool.

    • charli

      i highly doubt that. Microsoft wouldn’t waste this much money just to ‘dilute’ the competition. Especially when there are better ways of playing that game.

      They believe that the retail store experience is part of why Apple now has a greater mindshare and a growing marketshare. Apple is no longer just that .5% of diehards that came to Apple for the creative stuff (Final Cut etc). Now they have another 5.5% and growing that are Mom and Pop and the kids. Companies are, shock, writing programs for Mac and porting existing ones way more than before. The Intel base in the Mac allows for Boot Camp so even things like “Retailers have to have a PC cause MLS systems don’t work on Macs” is bogus even if Apple won’t actually support Boot Camp and Windows in their stores but provide the utility “as a courtesy”. And even if folks think they are bogus, lying etc, everyone knows the I’m a PC/I’m a Mac campaign.

      Microsoft is either going to improve their image and keep down the growing switcher number with this experiment in “giving them experts”.

      Or it will do nothing but make some mall owners very happy to have had that space filled and thus some rent paid to them in these hard times.

  • John

    HA HA HA! they’re better off free from the gravity of the fascism that is apple.

  • http://ejschmidt.com/blog Erik

    Yes, they are better off without the fascism that is Apple. You should throw in the word genocide while you’re flinging big words around.

  • Mark

    I think there’s a pretty limitless supply of people wanting to be Apple Store managers, just purely because they genuinely like the product. I would :-)

    However, like most, I could probably be bribed to sell Windows through gritted teeth for a substantial salary increase, but ultimately Microsoft will be buying popularity, not earning it.

    That says more about the two competing products than any advertising campaign.

  • Torstein A.

    The Microsoft retail clientele certainly is vastly different than the Apple Retail Store clientele.

    First of all, Apple Retail customers are the type that are willing to pay a little bit MORE for the advantage of having everything conveniently in one place (and having the support of trained Apple staff). For example, the average Apple customer could probably purchase the same things slightly cheaper if they shopped at BestBuy or Fry’s. The ones that buy at Apple Retail Store probably know they will pay full price, but will have the peace of mind of full Apple support should they need customer support or to return items. BestBuy and Fry’s cannot guarantee them anything. If you buy an iPod Touch from Fry’s and then something goes wrong, you are stuck in Hell.

    People walking into the Microsoft retail stores are totally different. These people are the long time PC users that probably already are used to pirating software, and therefore they will not end up purchasing much from the Microsoft Retail Store at retail price anyways. The Windows corporate/business customers will go through a corporate sales channel instead, where they legally purchase Microsoft software at considerable discounts or subsidies.

    Apple Retail customers and Microsoft Retail customers are completely different mentalities. Just because Apple Retail Stores can succeed brilliantly, does not mean that Microsoft Retail Stores can copy the same level of success.

  • Maggatoniaggie

    Why doesn’t Apple pay their terrific people more money? They can certainly afford to after all those amazing sales of those expensive products.