Microsoft Retail Experience: Boring, Derivative, Shallow

As anyone who follows tech news knows, Microsoft is planning its own retail stores. Presumably, having seen the success of Apple’s stores, Ballmer thinks there’s a model to follow here.

Key to almost every new business venture is a question: how is this differentiated from the competition. But based on what I’m seeing in Microsoft’s Retail Experience Center … please help me understand: how is this any different than Best Buy?


OK, so I get that there are digital displays for product shelves. I get that everything is Microsoft, Microsoft, and more Microsoft. I even see the mini-computers on the shopping cars (and wonder how long they’ll last).

But those are details. On the big picture … the whole metaphor of the store … nothing has changed. It’s a nice, plastic, pastels & neutrals, soulless big box store. How Microsoft!

And how appropriate that their recently-hired VP of Retail, David Porter, is a 25-year Wall-Mart veteran. His latest gig was much sexier, at DreamWorks Animation … but the role was head of worldwide distribution.

Are you excited yet?