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Microsoft 'Hut' Opens Outside Seattle Apple Store

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the competition-on-your-doorstep dept.

Advertising 262

theodp writes "On October 20th, Microsoft will open its 14th store in Seattle's popular University Village shopping center, where it will go head-to-head against an existing Apple Store. To help build buzz for next week's grand opening, Microsoft set up a temporary Kinect-equipped hut within spitting distance of the Apple store, a guerrilla marketing effort designed to catch the attention of the throngs flocking to the Apple Store for the new iPhone 4S. Microsoft will up the marketing ante for next weekend's grand opening, transforming the parking lot between the two stores into a concert venue for performances by The Black Keys and OneRepublic. Any bets on whether the concerts will drum up more business for the Zune Market Place or the iTunes Store?"

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A parade and a funeral (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733060)

Maybe it would be best in consideration of the season and in light of current events for Microsoft's marketing department to reprise this popular event from the launch of Windows Phone.

The free concert series [billboard.com] was a big hit for WP7 - it drew big crowds.

Grr. Link fail. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733068)

this popular event [billboard.com]

Re:Grr. Link fail. (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733962)

That was the launch of WP7 - almost a year ago to the day.

This "Mango" version coming out at the end of the year is the version that is REALLY supposed to work. And they have better bands this time. And they got their mobile OS a kewl new food-based nickname. (How original!)

Yes, any year now they should be ready to compete with where Apple and Android were a couple of years ago.

Re:A parade and a funeral (1)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733754)

What does Microsoft have to sell? As a Zune HD owner I'm disappointed they didn't bring a Zune HD2.

Spitting distance? (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733066)

Spitting distance? Ballmer must have selected the location.

aaah (2, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733088)

that would be 'chair-throwing distance'. not spit.

Re:aaah (2)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733272)

Perhaps I should have said "frothing distance", or possibly "sweating distance". Whatever, with Ballmer, they're still all about the same.

how about (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733310)

"monkey jump distance" ? developers sure know the exact measure of that one.

Re:aaah (2)

c (8461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733326)

> Perhaps I should have said "frothing distance",
> or possibly "sweating distance".

How 'bout "squirting distance"?

Re:aaah (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734074)

> Perhaps I should have said "frothing distance", > or possibly "sweating distance".

How 'bout "squirting distance"?

Snorting distance, perhaps. I mean just look at d4 as an after effect...

Re:aaah (3, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733688)

Nope, squirting distance...

Re:Spitting distance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733312)

It'll be worth it to see the Softies with their black T-shirts: "Let's Cut Off (Apple logo) Air Supply"

Re:Spitting distance? (2)

Divebus (860563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733702)

Spitting distance? Isn't that "squirting distance"?

It's hard to believe Microsoft would be so willing to show this direct comparison - revealing they haven't had an original thought in ten years.

Re:Spitting distance? (3, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734114)

What original thought did Microsoft have 10 years ago? Even 20 or 30? Microsoft has actually built some good software on occasion, but they have never had an original thought since Bill Gates wrote a BASIC interpreter on paper tape in 1975.

Actually, MSR has plenty of original thoughts, but what just like Vegas, whatever happens in MSR stays in MSR.

What exactly does Microsoft hope to accomplish? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733082)

Zune is gone, and wasn't all that great to begin with.
Windows 7 still takes 3 hours to install anything.
Windows Phone is abysmal (we probably shouldn't go there).
And xbox live is governed by corporate pigs.

Microsoft is hundreds of miles behind Apple, and may always be.

They should probably just accept the fact that their market share will continue to dwindle.

Re:What exactly does Microsoft hope to accomplish? (2, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733160)

buthurt much? who the fuck cares, its not like this one store is going to break MS or Apple.

And by hundreds of miles behind apple, do you mean in the shiny object hipster yuppie market? Because the majority of the real world seems to show otherwise.

Re:What exactly does Microsoft hope to accomplish? (2)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733204)

And by hundreds of miles behind apple, do you mean in the shiny object hipster yuppie market? Because the majority of the real world seems to show otherwise.

I consider it very humorous on how when something is not in their realm of refinement/etc then it's suddently "hipster" or "yuppie".
The majority of the real world (as opposed to the fake world... wtf?) buys the cheapest shit they can get their hands on without regard to any side effects or lifespan concerns. There are a percentage that want something else.

Which dovetails nicely into our current conversation. Thanks, please continue.

Gosh, that mouth of your never stops flapping. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733226)

do you mean in the shiny object hipster yuppie market? Because the majority of the real world seems to show otherwise.

You obviously aren't all that familiar with the corporate world these days, which Apple has recently begun to dominate.

Re:Gosh, that mouth of your never stops flapping. (2)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733556)

Since when is single-digit marketshare considered "dominant"?

Re:What exactly does Microsoft hope to accomplish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733464)

You're right, that one store won't break MS or Apple. Microsoft is breaking themselves and cheap stunts don't help.

As for not understanding the 100s of miles between them, those are the words of a bitter, clueless fossil. Reading a bunch of your past posts didn't disappoint me. Dismissing Apple's ability to release products people actually want as the "shiny object hipster yuppie market" puts you squarely in denial. Half of new Macs are sold to people sick to death of Windows. The "real world", as it was, has been burning down for a decade and the fact that Apple is what Microsoft wants to be really rubs you the wrong way. That's ok, you'll be obsolete sooner than you realize, although Apple has demonstrated they're perfectly capable of fucking it up all by themselves.

Re:What exactly does Microsoft hope to accomplish? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733208)

And xbox live is governed by corporate pigs.

And nothing Apple does is governed by corporate pigs?

Re:What exactly does Microsoft hope to accomplish? (4, Insightful)

bjwest (14070) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733316)

And xbox live is governed by corporate pigs.

And nothing Apple does is governed by corporate pigs?

Nope. Apple is governed by hipster hogs.

Re:What exactly does Microsoft hope to accomplish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733510)

Windows 7 still takes 3 hours to install anything.

One thing I feel compelled to say in defense of Win7 is that the OS itself doesn't take long to install. There was me expecting to be sitting in front of the PC for two hours, merrily clicking "accept" buttons and selecting options from drop down boxes, only to discover that I'd barely even started my second coffee when the install finished. It was so freaky.

Re:What exactly does Microsoft hope to accomplish? (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733590)

Microsoft is hundreds of miles behind Apple, and may always be.

I know, right?

Anyway, the people coming out of the Apple store probably already own Apple's far superior game system and would never buy an XBox360 and a Kinect.

Oh wait...

Nevermind that... (5, Funny)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733116)

On October 20th, Microsoft will open its 14th store in Seattle's popular University Village shopping center...

Why do they need 14 stores in one shopping center?

Re:Nevermind that... (1, Troll)

toetagger (642315) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733146)

one for each customer, of course! Do you know how long it takes to install & configure one PC?

Re:Nevermind that... (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733152)

It's one damned popular shopping center.

Re:Nevermind that... (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733234)

Because Ballmer figured out that he needs to have 14 MS stores to every 1 Apple Store? Also, it's but a stones throw away from Office Depot where you can sometimes get a good deal on chairs.

Re:Nevermind that... (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733662)

If it were a chair's throw away it would probably explain the good deals.

Re:Nevermind that... (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733286)

On October 20th, Microsoft will open its 14th store in Seattle's popular University Village shopping center...

Why do they need 14 stores in one shopping center?

Because the author is wrong. According to the list of stores on University Village website there is only one Microsoft store which will open October 20th. [uvillage.com]

Re:Nevermind that... (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733582)

The author isn't wrong. The other thirteen stores aren't in University Village.

Re:Nevermind that... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733586)

No, the author isn't wrong at all, he's just unwittingly exposed one of the flaws of the English language, the fact that one of his clauses is ambiguous in what it's referring to. I haven't looked it up, but MS probably now has 14 stores, but that's the total number everywhere. The 14th one is located in this shopping center. How else would you word this sentence to specify that only the 14th store is located in this shopping center? Without adding whole sentences, I don't believe you can.

To be fair, though, even with this and many other flaws, English is still better than a lot of other languages in this regard.

Not a flaw (0)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733800)

No, the author isn't wrong at all, he's just unwittingly exposed one of the flaws of the English language...

This is not a flaw in the English language - it is quite easy to accurately communicate the information. For example: "Microsoft has 13 retail stores in the US and will open its fourteenth on 20th October in Seattle's popular University Village shopping center, where...". If you choose to write ambiguously it is not a flaw in the language but a flaw in the author.

Re:Not a flaw (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733932)

Just like I said, for you to be explicit, you have to "talk around" the flaw in the language. It's like this in many other simpler languages that don't have as many cases as other languages. Yes, you can accurately communicate the information, but you have to add 10-50% more words (or worse) to do so. That sounds like a "flaw" to me. With a more complex language with more cases, you can pack a lot more information into a smaller space. Just look at Latin for example.

With your "talk around", you've added 7 more words in a separate clause to the sentence.

Re:Not a flaw (0)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734076)

Just like I said, for you to be explicit, you have to "talk around" the flaw in the language.

No, for one to be explicit they just need to be explicit. It kind of makes sense that being explicit has a lower word efficiency than being ambiguous. Yes, other languages are different, but that doesn't make one flawed. If word efficiency was really all that important then Spanish wouldn't be a language. Spanish speakers just have a clever way of getting around the inefficiency of their language: they talk fast.

". . . Microsoft will open its 14th store. Located in Seattle's . . ." Oh, look, I made it explicit using only a period and one extra word.

Re:Not a flaw (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734122)

Yes, other languages are different, but that doesn't make one flawed.

Yes, it does, IMO. And IMO, Spanish is a very flawed language. English isn't perfect, but it's a lot better than that abysmally-inefficient excuse for a language. What's really strange is that Spanish is descended partially from Latin, which is one of the most efficient languages around.

Re:Nevermind that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733878)

- On October 20th, Seattle's popular University Village shopping center will be home to Microsoft's 14th store. ...there are countless other ways to say the same thing

There are numerous ways to avoid confusion brought on by ambiguous language

Re:Nevermind that... (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733650)

WHOOOOOOOSHH....

Re:Nevermind that... (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734024)

WHOOOOOOOSHH....

Are you all so subtly implying that there are clueless people on the internets and that they don't follow the first rule to sit on one's hands for a while before posting?
.. or was that just the sound of a chair flying by?

Re:Nevermind that... (4, Funny)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733408)

They decided to imitate Starbucks.

Re:Nevermind that... (1)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733480)

They open one each time someone buys a WP7 phone - its a kind of loss leader tactic so the marketing peeps can trumpet their staff/customer ratio being the highest in the business.

More business for Zune market or iTunes store? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733144)

More like more business for BT: Hey these guys have a log of good songs. I think I'll grab their whole discography.

Microsoft has a store?? (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733166)

wtf

Re:Microsoft has a store?? (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733364)

Apparently 14 of them [microsoftstore.com] now. I don't know how profitable they are though as MS has not divulged or bragged about that aspect. Apple retails stores do seem profitable.

Re:Microsoft has a store?? (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733414)

Apparently 14 of them [microsoftstore.com] now. I don't know how profitable they are though as MS has not divulged or bragged about that aspect. Apple retails stores do seem profitable.

I walked in one once. It's eery how they are total rip off of the Apple store. I think the employee uniforms, furniture and paint came from the same supplier.

Re:Microsoft has a store?? (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734140)

Yeah, but I bet people actually buy stuff at the Apple stores.

Re:Microsoft has a store?? (3, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733418)

For MS it might not be so much a store but a means to get mind share. Apple has lots of cool gadgets. Microsoft: Xbox 360 and ... no that's it. The rest is productivity stuff, and large corporate software. Sure there are games, there are phones running WinPhone etc.but it won't be nearly the same experience as an Apple store where you go in and see one companies shinny products I think. Where it could help Microsoft is give the brand a "face". "I like Office better than LibreOffice because that nice guy in the store spent an hour showing me how to use it" kind of thing.

Re: Apple Stores sell more than Apple products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733488)

You neglected to mention that you will find products from Apple partners in the Apple store as well, not just those branded by Apple (I mean, is anything really *made* by Apple, discuss). And yes, an Apple store is an experience. I'd imagine an MS store would be less interesting, and more creepy.

Re: Apple Stores sell more than Apple products (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733624)

Hey little kiddies get on my App guess who's back with a brand new Shrink Rap? :-) People tend to group things/themselves together based on what makes them different from the norm That is way the early Nazi movement happened in bars of like minded crazies, if a city has 100 Jamaicans there will be a little Caribbean etc. Apple has the advantage here because they are the "others". Which really isn't true now because I'd suspect the majority of households in the west have at least one Apple product. But it is still perceived as different. MS is perceived as normal, "I already understand this", or even worse "that is the stuff I work on all day why would I care about it when I go home?" Apple except in some niches, mainly the cool ones creatives, science, etc, has stayed away from the office. It makes it a lot easier to convince people they are cool gadgets you go spend your own time and money on. Very few people get wood for a spreadsheet :-)

Re: Apple Stores sell more than Apple products (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733672)

Because MS doesn't sell PCs they do at least have a lot of hardware from partners but half the problem is it costs more than in most other stores from what I've read so they're not competitive where as if you go to an Apple store it's the same prices as anywhere else admittedly that will mainly be because there are very few options for buying a Mac.

Re:Microsoft has a store?? (4, Interesting)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733660)

I completely forgot about their stores and didn't realise any opened. I tried looking on the net and there isn't much being said about them. The only thing I found were these.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/26/business/la-fi-microsoft-stores-20101126 [latimes.com]
http://www.tuaw.com/2010/11/26/lost-in-translation-microsoft-retail-stores-not-matching-apple/ [tuaw.com]
http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/microsoft_news/229401433 [informationweek.com]


The gist of them seem to be that Microsoft is copying Apple so they have the same look but unlike the Apple store the MS stores aren't a good value because they don't carry as much stock and can't compete on price with other shops carrying Windows based computers.

That's always going to be a problem for them. They aren't a hardware company (for the most part) so unlike Apple they don't have a ncie small set of hardware that they can offer at the best price available. Apple computers may cost more than Wintel machines but when you go to an Apple store the price of the Mac is the best price you can get for a mac without a student discount.

You go into a Microsoft store and you see PCs that you can get elsewhere for cheaper. Where's the incentive to buy from Microsoft? Imo, their stores will die out quietly or they'll just sell them to someone who can offer a better deal and probably ask to keep the branding.

Re:Microsoft has a store?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733628)

Yeah, they opened one of the first Microsoft stores in the Mall of America right across from the Apple store.

The store is kind of sad and pathetic, like a middle-aged bald guy in a 1993 Pontiac Firebird trying to hit on 19 year old girls.

Re:Microsoft has a store?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733772)

As a bald, middle-aged guy with a 1993 Pontiac Firebird and a taste for barely legal pussy, I take offense at being compared to Microsoft's store.

The Black Keys? (1)

hardwarejunkie9 (878942) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733212)

I find it particularly interesting that their choice of performers is OneRepublic and The Black Keys. It's particularly odd because The Black Keys have some of the strongest independent credentials out there. They've been consistently published by independent labels and have really carved out their own musical niche by themselves. The idea that they're playing a concert for Microsoft is a bit... odd. I don't particularly care, however. If I was in the area I would be one of the first there for the show.

Re:The Black Keys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733268)

Warner Brothers is not an independent label. They may have indie cred, but they don't have indie reality.

Re:The Black Keys? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733600)

It's particularly odd because The Black Keys have some of the strongest independent credentials out there. They've been consistently published by independent labels and have really carved out their own musical niche by themselves.

So they've made a name for themselves as independent, only to throw it all away now by selling out to one of the most soulless corporations out there. They might as well go whole-hog and start whoring themselves out by making music for corporate commercials.

Re:The Black Keys? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733654)

So they've made a name for themselves as independent, only to throw it all away now by selling out to one of the most soulless corporations out there. They might as well go whole-hog and start whoring themselves out by making music for corporate commercials.

Hey, what's the point of building a name if you can't cash in on it?

Re:The Black Keys? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733712)

Nothing wrong with cashing in on your name, but to call yourselves "independent" while being a corporate whore makes you a hypocrite.

IMO, the best way for a band to become financially successful from their popularity while still remaining independent is to simply make your money playing concerts. Look at Metallica before Cliff died and they sold out in the 90s; they were making tons of money playing giant, sold-out concerts in huge arenas, with pretty much only word-of-mouth advertising. They didn't need to dumb down their music to radio-friendly lengths, or play videos on MTV, and they sure as hell didn't need to play concerts for corporations like MS to make money. Of course that all changed when Cliff died.

Re:The Black Keys? (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734048)

So they've made a name for themselves as independent, only to throw it all away now by selling out to one of the most soulless corporations out there. They might as well go whole-hog and start whoring themselves out by making music for corporate commercials.

You clearly have no idea how many commercials, NFL games, TV shows, etc. have already paid to use music by The Black Keys. Off the top of my head, besides sports bumper music, there's AT&T, Cadillac, NPR, Nissan (I think), Carson Daly's annoying show, some travel site, and there's been a bunch more. They have not "sold out" in the sense that they have changed their music to satisfy record company executives, or anyone else for that matter, but they have no qualms with making money or being popular. What's wrong with that?

I miss the days when I could see The Black Keys at the Beachland Tavern with maybe 100 people, the Lime Spider with 200 people, or chat with the boys at someone else's show, but I don't hold it against them that people like their music. They have done things more or less the same way for about ten years, and the masses have recently begun to catch on. TBK are not Linkin Park, Jewel, Nickelback or any other pop bullshit. They make good music, and sometimes (rarely) good music becomes some of the most popular music. That's not selling out.

And as for the whole MS thing, I'd go to enjoy The Black Keys if this were close enough, then not buy anything sold by either MS or Apple, just like always. Thanks M$, but no dollars for you!

Re:The Black Keys? (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734056)

I hereby encourage M$ to spend lots and lots of money on lots more cool concerts! They can afford it. But that won't make me a customer. Ever.

Re:The Black Keys? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734086)

You clearly have no idea how many commercials, NFL games, TV shows, etc. have already paid to use music by The Black Keys.

Actually, I have no clue who "The Black Keys" even are. I guess I could Google it, but why bother, it's probably just some crappy new band. AFAIC, there's been no good new bands formed since the 80s, and I don't really give a rat's ass about modern popular music.

So apparently this band has always been a sell-out and a bunch of corporate whores.

Panicked Investor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733230)

But Brick & Mortar stores can't possibly compete against the internet!!

I was there last night! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733238)

I was at the Apple Store at University Village last night. It's so crowded they have a line just inside the door to match you to an associate because the ratio of customers to help was so out of whack. The MS store was draped but is directly across a small parking lot facing the Apple store. This is Seattle and the kind of people that go to see the Black Keys are not MS buyers. BUT...I'll bet big money the email goes out to every MS employee on their campus that it's their corporate responsibility to flood the place on opening weekend.

I've also worked on building several Microsoft stores throughout the country and they're kind of pathetic in their copying. All built within site of an Apple store and just have darker wood and a giant video wall. Even the uniforms are a carbon copoy. Kinda desperate move on MS's part. Plus, no way can their income pay for the sq footage of their stores. Money down a hole just to (fake) show they can keep up with Apple. The whole effort is so disingenuous.

Re:I was there last night! (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733646)

I've also worked on building several Microsoft stores throughout the country and they're kind of pathetic in their copying. All built within site of an Apple store

You must not have been to the one in Arizona then, or forgot to mention it as an exception. The MS store is in the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall, which is where all the most expensive mall shops are (Nieman Marcus, Barney's, etc.). For some odd reason, there's no Apple store in this mall at all, which is odd because it's the mall where people who have too much money to spend all go (there's not that much high-end shopping in the Phoenix area after all). If there's any place in the Phoenix area where you're likely to see Lamborghinis and Ferraris parked, it's probably at or near this mall. I see Aston Martins parked in the valet section here pretty frequently.

The Apple store is in the Chandler mall, about 10-15 miles south. This is a pretty "normal" mall; Nordstrom, Dillard's, Sears, and Macy's are the anchor stores; there's no Coach store like there is a short distance from the MS store in Scottsdale; there's no other high-end designer stores. It's not a ghetto mall by any means (not like Ghettocenter, er, Metrocenter near central Phoenix, or Fiesta Mall in Mesa), just a normal mall. Why Apple built a store in Chandler but never in Scottsdale, I have no idea. It seems like they're always going after people with lots of extra money to throw around, so why they didn't build a store in Scottsdale first, I'm really curious.

But yes, aside from the Kinect demo outside, the MS store looks very much like a cheap copy of the Apple store at first glance. Of course, this is to be expected: everything MS has ever made has been (or at least started out as) a cheap copy of something else: DOS, Windows, Office, etc. They've never innovated a single thing on their own.

Re:I was there last night! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733956)

They've never innovated a single thing on their own.

As far as I know they're the only ones who where clever enough to put "Shutdown" in their "Start" menu.

Oh wait.

Re:I was there last night! (1, Troll)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733970)

Yep, and they finally changed this in Win7. I'm a long-time KDE user, and KDE has always gotten this right: there's no "Start" menu, but there is a menu (not named "Start"), that does basically the same thing, and has a way to shut down the computer. This menu only has an icon, no words. So, years later, what does MS do? They get rid of the "Start" and replace it with a windows icon.

As usual, MS can only copy.

MS always follows, never leads (-1, Troll)

betelgeuse68 (230611) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733250)

I saw Skype character (executive) singing the praises of MS acquiring them and extolling the synergies because both Skype and MS innovated, blah, blah, blah. It was at that point I stopped the video, he had nothing meaningful to say. It was just rhetoric. MS hasn't innovated in 20 years. Windows 7 is good (whatever Mac OS X/LINUX people, it's great for gaming) but MS has drawn its revenues from product lines that are now decades old. That is not innovation.

Arguably one could give MS a point for the XBox360. However a gaming console isn't innovating. On a tangent they can be awarded points for XBox Live which is more robust for multi-player gaming and has engendered strong communities. Sony's PSN isn't as strong, something you'll consistently hear from many people, including those who cover the video game industry, e.g., Machinima.com.

There tends to be a lot of fanboy hatred against MS but the reasons people cite are generally crap. I live in Seattle and many tech people I've talked agree that MS' biggest problem is the person at the top - Steve Ballmer. He has no vision whatsoever and at best is a chief operating officer.

Ballmer can't even hire someone to find new locations for retail fronts... so what does he do, he opens stores by Apple's . Microsoft erected a big(ger) store just a few doors down from Apple's in one of the malls in the Seattle area (Bellevue Square). MS couldn't even pick some other part of the mall, it had to be close to Apple's. Wow, just wow.

We all know who the omega is here.

-M

Re:MS always follows, never leads (1)

leoplan2 (2064520) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733294)

I live in Seattle and many tech people I've talked agree that MS' biggest problem is the person at the top - Steve Ballmer. He has no vision whatsoever and at best is a chief operating officer. Not only Ballmer, but also the bureaucracy at Microsoft is one of the biggest problems for them. That's documented on the Mini Microsoft blog

Re:MS always follows, never leads (1)

teg (97890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733362)

MS hasn't innovated in 20 years.

Windows Phone seems to have quite a bit of innovation in it, probably the most innovation since iPhone was launched (Android is just a copycat of that, sorry Android fans[1]). So they're not completely dead yet.

[1] Android has some pros and cons compared to iOS, e.g. being some bits being opens ource, it's less locked down, using Java rather than Objective C for development and support of a wide range of hardware in various niches rather than just one high end set per year.

Re:MS always follows, never leads (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733592)

MS hasn't innovated in 20 years.

Windows Phone seems to have quite a bit of innovation in it, probably the most innovation since iPhone was launched (Android is just a copycat of that, sorry Android fans[1]). So they're not completely dead yet.

If they keep up that kind of innovation, they will eventually run out of money (and customers). It may be "innovative" but nobody cares, which is a different kind of innovation to what Apple is known for. Re: Android don't forget voice actions first, over the air updates first, multi-tasking first (no?), and being much more open with the entire apps process (apps allowed, side loading, etc).

Re:MS always follows, never leads (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733516)

I don't know .Net has some pretty cool stuff in it. Most of it lived in labs beforehand but there is a lot of lab projects moving into the mainstream via .Net, generics, LINQ, lamdas, Task Parrallel Library etc. Do other languages have this stuff, probably. Who was first? Not sure but if not quite cutting edge innovation it is at least a quick pace of incorporating innovation into products. Similar to Win Vista/7 "cloning of OS X who cares, can you OS do what I want it to for a price I'm willing to pay (even if it is as a MS tax on the purchase of new hardware)? Yep. Okay you get my money.Visual Studio IMHO is the best IDE hands down, and the whole package (TFS) seems like it would be really useful for large dev teams though I'm usually a sole or very small number of developers kind of projects so never used it. I'm yet to see anything that comes close. P.S. I actually really like the snap to side and snap to top GUI feature in Win 7. That to me made Win 7 beat Snow Leopard in usability IMHO and I'm running a 27" iMac. Drives me nuts when developing in Mac OS that I constantly have to fidget with windows to look at things side by side. Windows? Drag left drag right done. Maybe not "wow" technology but MS rarely does that. It usually does things either very productive or at least productive enough to keep people coming back. Since the Lion upgrade I find my computer runs half as fast as it did under Snow Leopard and much slower than under Win 7. I haven't been back to OS X since other than occasionally to run updates and see if it works better for a few hours. So Apple screws up too but they are always trying to be the second coming. MS is just trying to push out okay to great, Mac tries to always push "wow this is new" (which usually means wait till service pack 2 just like a MS product :-)).

Re:MS always follows, never leads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733640)

There is also a Microsoft store directly across from an Apple store in Mall of America. Based on the few items I checked prices on, they are not making money from people who price compare. They had the exact brand and model of a 16GB USB flash stick for almost three times what I paid for it.

Re:MS always follows, never leads (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733870)

Windows 7 is good (whatever Mac OS X/LINUX people, it's great for gaming)

Windows 7 is only good for gaming because they've been pushing DirectX for so long, and refined it for so long, and pushed game developers into using it, that it's the de facto standard for 3D gaming, and of course since it's proprietary and only supported on Windows, that means Windows is the best (3D, FPS, etc.) gaming platform out there. (Of course, there's other kinds of gaming out there now, as the iPhone/Android games have shown, but that's beside the point.) If MS wanted to make Linux into a great gaming platform, it'd be pretty trivial for them to port DirectX to Linux; obviously they wouldn't do that, but the point is that it isn't Windows 7 that's so great for gaming, just one of its components that predates Windows 7 by a long time.

Windows 7, in fact, isn't innovative in any way at all; it's just a warmed-over version of Vista with a lot of bugs and problems fixed, and a few minor cosmetic changes to the UI.

Arguably one could give MS a point for the XBox360.

No innovation there (except for the Kinect recently). That was just a cheap copy of the Playstation series. Like lots of their other ventures, they saw some market they wanted to dominate, so they made a cheap copy of the top player in that market, put it out there, and then kept refining it and pouring more money into it until the competitors ran out of steam and they could become dominant themselves. But at what cost? Has their Xbox division ever been profitable?

I live in Seattle and many tech people I've talked agree that MS' biggest problem is the person at the top - Steve Ballmer. He has no vision whatsoever and at best is a chief operating officer.

I agree with that being their biggest problem. The board needs to toss him out. However, his best job would be as a used car salesman, not a COO.

Ballmer can't even hire someone to find new locations for retail fronts... so what does he do, he opens stores by Apple's . Microsoft erected a big(ger) store just a few doors down from Apple's in one of the malls in the Seattle area (Bellevue Square). MS couldn't even pick some other part of the mall, it had to be close to Apple's.

Here in AZ, MS actually beat Apple in the store selection game, I think (maybe someone who disagrees can point out why Apple's selection is better). The Apple store is in the Chandler mall, which is a pretty "normal" mall with Macy's, Dillard's, Sears, and Nordstrom as its anchor stores. MS never did open a shop there; instead, they got a rather nice location in the Scottsdale mall, which is an "upscale" mall with Nieman-Marcus and Barney's as two of its anchors (Macy's, Dillard's, and Nordstrom are the other three; definitely no Sears to be found there), and which also has a lot of overpriced designer stores like Coach, Touraneau (sells expensive watches like Breitling and Rolex), etc. The MS store is actually a very short walk from the Coach store. So for whatever reasons, MS picked the ritzy-ish mall, while Apple (which was there first) chose the more pedestrian mall. Apple has another store I'm aware of here in AZ, but it's way up in north Scottsdale in some crappy strip-mall, not really an exclusive location by any means, and actually right across the street from a Walmart and Sam's Club.

Re:MS always follows, never leads (1)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733950)

Microsoft employs some of the brightest minds in the industry, just look at the amazing work done by Microsoft Research, it just seems to be unable to monetize and/or properly market its innovations which makes them seem reactive instead of leading. XBox, Windows Phone and Zune are excellent products in their own merits but they way Microsoft markets them make them seem as if they are copying the market leader. They also fail to stick to their products and lack a consistent strategy, they quit on Zune why too soon and then there is their development platforms and technologies .net, Silverlight, Win32, WPF and now they are moving to HTML5 and JavaScript.

pestilence (2, Funny)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733254)

Microsoft can have a store at every corner of every street in the world and I'd still avoid them like the plague.
I lost respect for them completely in 1997 (cratered by their previous blunders), so it'd be on par with walking into Walmart.
In fact, both have the same feel.

Wallmart or MS store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733322)

which one have you never been in, again?

Childish microsoft (2)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733256)

Sure, Kinect is going to make iPhone users want to buy a WP7-based phone...

So they can tranfer my Zune files to my iphone (2)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733258)

Very convenent

It will work, maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733300)

Well played, MS.

Some people might actually watch Microsoft products -- if the line for the iPhone 4S is big enough, that is...

I don't get it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733314)

Microsoft isn't usually associated with tangible objects. It's a second-thought to people when getting devices and computers whether it runs Microsoft or not. (Fx, people will get a Dell, a HP, a Toshiba... Not a "Microsoft computer"... ) So I'm trying to understand what's motivating that business model...

my best guess is they are going to be selling a bunch of different vendors products for them. If it does take off, it means device makers can rely on MS as a distribution channel of sorts. (At the very least, MS seems to suggest they will get the word out about those products.) That'd be a really good incentive for those companies to create a solid line of Windows branded stuff.

There'll be decent attendance (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733330)

Microsoft's had a Kinect hut set up on Red Square at the University of Washington for several weeks (since the week before school began). It's been popular - not "waiting in line" popular, but there's always someone playing in there. Well, hold on, there are 35,000 students at UW so maybe it's not all that popular...

In any case, I'm sure they'll get good attendance at the Kinect hut; and if they're selling games in the Microsoft Store I'm sure a goodly number of people will be in there looking. From what I've seen and heard, though, it's unlikely there'll be much crossover success with regards to Windows computers. I know several Mac users who own XBox 360s, but I've never heard any of them say "you know, I think I'll try Windows again because my gaming console is just so great!" People compartmentalize their technology. Most of the Windows admins I know own iPhones (seriously, none of them own an Android or a Windows Mobile phone) - and I've never heard any of them say "I like my phone so much, I think I'll buy a Mac!"

I'm sure a lot of customers will stop by on the way, listen to some music, maybe play a game... and then go on into the Apple Store.

Re:There'll be decent attendance (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733714)

But what are the game prices like? The complaints I've heard about the PC hardware is that MS isn't competitive on price so if you want a Windows PC then a MS store is probably the last place you want to go.

I believe (3, Insightful)

crumbz (41803) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733334)

this just proves that Microsoft doesn't get it. For all there R&D dollars and for all their marketing dollars, piggybacking off of Apple places them in a poor light, a "hey look, we are relevant too" kinda light. Apart from the OS space and the occasional Windows phone, Microsoft and Apple are no longer the direct competitors they once were.

Spitting distance or parking lot? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733340)

"The company has set up a temporary hut within spitting distance of the Apple store. "

And you couldn't get one photo showing how close the "hut" is to the Apple store? All I see in your photo is a white cargo box in a parking lot. That photo could have been taken anywhere on the planet. If your entire story is going to be able how incredibly close a Microsoft store/hut is to a Apple store *at least* have photos to back up your claim.

And the photos you do have are beautiful. One photo shows the Microsoft Store (that's the name on the outside of the hut) with two dark figures inside. The other photo is inside the store but it's practically a thumbnail with a resolution of 225x171. Seriously? 1998 called, it wants it's crappy photos back.

So not only did you not take a photo proving the Microsoft "Store" is within spitting distance of the Apple store, you couldn't take one decent photo of what *was* there. All kinds of fail is going on here.

Re:Spitting distance or parking lot? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733402)

So not only did you not take a photo proving the Microsoft "Store" is within spitting distance of the Apple store, you couldn't take one decent photo of what *was* there. All kinds of fail is going on here.

Yeah, I know University Village reasonably well - and I can't tell with certainty where these photos are taken from. Since I can see the Barnes & Noble, I can tell it's on the same half of U Village that the Apple Store is in... but that's quite a large place.

My best guess is this is closer to 25th, on the other side of Fran's Chocolate and the garden shop whose name escapes me (Ravenna Gardens - thank you Google Maps). If so, you can't actually see the Apple Store from this location.

I smell a law suit. (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733374)

Pizza Hut needs to sue their pants off.

Re:I smell a law suit. (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733638)

Do we really need to see Microsoft with its pants off?

Re:I smell a law suit. (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733840)

I wouldn't worry. It's micro and soft. About as offensive as Ken doll with no clothes.

Re:I smell a law suit. (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734020)

But is Microsoft's butt as firm as Ken's?

When wil Microsoft realise... (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733396)

Microsoft is not a "cool" brand. It's the brand that people are forced to use in the office because Microsoft has essentially left no choice. This is not a good reason to buy Microsoft.

But MS does have a cool brand that it controls. It has XBox. It's even managed to give Kinect its own identity. Windows phone 7 may not be able to hook onto those, but Microsoft can create a brand. Relying on the existing brand doesn't make sense if they want to appeal to the trendsetters.

Re:When wil Microsoft realise... (3, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733782)

I think Microsoft realises it's not cool and that on PCs it has its position purely because of its legacy support.

What else do they have?

Kin - failure

Zune - Failure

Windows Phone 7 - it's creaking along gaining a tiny bit of market share one month and losing market share another

Kinect - everyone except gamers seem to like them and buy them. At least they're selling them but I'm not sure I'd want to make Kinect games.

Xbox - It's a success in that it's not losing money but is that because it's awesome or because everything is an expensive proprietary add-on and its whole online model is built around milking you for money (ie MS points, subscription based, no web browser and most services requiring a Gold account) and even then it's only really a success in North America. Because of this the Wii has blasted right past it to first place and despite all of Sony's monumental fuck ups and launching 1 year later MS only lead of a few million over Sony. Any little foul up in the next generation could leave them dead last. They could still end up in 3rd place in this generation if it lasts much longer.

Microsoft using legacy support to tie users to their OS worked really well for Windows. Windows will probably always be number 1 for at least another decade. But I think they've really damaged their reputation with Windows. Allowing OEMs to install any sort of crap on top of Windows and allowing them to put it on machines that weren't really up to the job of running it just makes windows look bad. So I think when people don't require some legacy Windows app they go elsewhere.

Some of those people I think are then realising that actually they don't need Windows, love their iphone and then get a Mac so Apple's market share has been creeping up even if there isn't any chance of it over taking MS any time soon. So I think they are a bit scared with times changing and think having a propaganda to push nothing but Windows will some how help.

In a way I think it will only hurt because from everything I've read MS stores seem to be (or were) more expensive for Wintel machines so they'll end up looking like they're ripping off customers.

Re:When wil Microsoft realise... (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734066)

Microsoft is not a "cool" brand. It's the brand that people are forced to use in the office because Microsoft has essentially left no choice. This is not a good reason to buy Microsoft.

Not just forced into. People who are not interested in computers at all will buy Microsoft. People who just want something that is common enough to not be too out of the ordinary or avantgarde-ish. If Microsoft made fanboy T-Shirts they would say "default"

"Microsoft Hut" (3, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733460)

Because "Microsoft ghetto" was judged to be too uncomfortably close to the truth.

Found the store (not the Hut) (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733476)

There's a post in the Seattle PI's "Microsoft Blog" [seattlepi.com] that shows the location for the actual store - it is indeed right across the parking lot from the Apple Store.

I can understand why Microsoft would want to do that, I guess, in terms of symbolism - but I think it's a terrible business mistake. Whatever you think of Microsoft and their products, you can't believe they've got the same cachet that Apple does. People aren't going to be hunting them out - but MS has picked a spot with seriously bad visibility from most of the mall. University Village isn't a big enclosed mall - it's an open-air space where most of the shops are scattered among smaller buildings that open straight onto parking lots. The Apple Store is on a side lot that's set back somewhat, but it at least is visible as people are driving through the lot from the 25th Avenue entrance (plus people are going to be looking for them anyway). Someone coming from that entrance and driving straight in won't even see the Microsoft Store - as they pass that side lot, the MS Store will be behind their left shoulder while the Apple Store will be in front of them.

Re:Found the store (not the Hut) (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733798)

Unless it turns out to be hugely popular (I find it hard to believe they are since MS is been so quiet) it'll be a mistake. Having an empty MS store across from a busy Apple store just makes Apple look better.

The Burger KIng of Computer Stores ... (1)

Tjp($)pjT (266360) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733492)

Just as BurgerKIng uses McDonalds site planning and places stores near them, so Microsoft falls into the same seemingly profitable pattern. Hey! Yes Hey! Microsoft! Isn't McDonalds Bigger than Burger King??? Ever hear of first mover advantage? It applies to real estate too. If they liked your location they'd be there.

More of a threat to GameStop than Apple (1)

Tangential (266113) | more than 2 years ago | (#37733736)

Based on what Microsoft has that it can sell to consumers, they'd be a lot smarter to locate near a GameStop than an Apple store. They XBox line is really all that they have to sell directly to consumers.

Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37733990)

But perfectly in keeping with the Microsoft's definition of "innovation".

I love The Black Keys (0)

lophophore (4087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734046)

I love The Black Keys. They are awesome.

But this smells like selling out.

I've been looking forward to their new record.

Now I'm afraid I'll keep seeing that fucking Windows logo in my mind's eye whenever I hear it.

Shit...

Microsoft and Apple (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37734082)

Should just get a room.
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