Microsoft Now Selling Stupid, Toohttp://www.fool.com/investing/value/2009/02/13/microsoft-now-selling-stupid-too.aspx Tim Beyers
February 13, 2009
So that's what it's come to? Mr. Softy's Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) envy is about to be made real as Everyday Cheap Software? Talk about the dumbest idea ever.
Microsoft, for its part, touted the move as a means to improve customer engagement on forthcoming products. "This is an exciting time with our strong lineup of upcoming product releases including Windows 7 and new releases of Windows Live and Windows Mobile," Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner said in a company press release. Continuing:
So, Microsoft's retail stores will help show off ... Windows? That's a funny way of expressing Apple envy; the iEmpire's own stores are designed for playing with Macs, iPhones, and iPods.
Partnering with Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) could help to replicate this experience -- maybe -- but even then, I doubt it'd lead to anything more than an incremental sales improvement. There just isn't a pressing need for engagement when you control close to 90% of the market for computer operating systems.
Apple's brand was well-respected and well-known, but for most consumers, it was ephemeral before its retail stores arrived. Their playground format transformed gawkers used to glass-cased displays into hands-on testers and, ultimately, buyers.
Retail was a perfect fit for Apple, in other words. Not so much for Microsoft, whose customers are: