Your retail strategy appears to suck

In what seems like nothing more than a lame “me-too”, Microsoft is set to open retail stores. Unless they’re going to work with some hardware vendors to sell complete package solutions, the Macalope is having a hard time seeing how a store that sells nothing but software is going to do any better than, say, Egghead.

If you don’t remember Egghead, go ask your parents.

But, like the horny one noted, they could work around that.

The real kiss of doom is who they’ve picked to head up the effort. When Apple decided to open retail stores, it plucked Ron Johnson from Target and put the CEO of the Gap on its board. Who did Microsoft pick?

Porter has been head of worldwide product distribution for Dreamworks Animation SKG since 2007, but before that, he spent 25 years at Wal-Mart Stores. His last position there was vice president and general merchandise manager of entertainment.

Correct the Macalope if he’s wrong, but Dreamworks doesn’t have any retail stores other than, he would imagine, a few company stores. And, while some readers might not see the difference between Wal-Mart and Target, the horny one assures you it’s there.

It’s possible to still make a nice retail experience with these building blocks and Microsoft will assuredly throw a bazillion dollars into it, but right now this doesn’t exactly give off the sweet smell of success.

Trackbacks Comments
  • Gary:

    I read about this in the newspaper this morning and almost fell out of my chair at Starbucks from laughter. WTF is Microsoft thinking? or maybe they aren’t thinking and just thorwing stuff at he walls hoping something will stick. They already tried this concept several years back here in SF at the Sony Metreon complex and it was a dismal failure. People came in and browsed but nobody bought much anything becuase it was all at full retail, and people would just go to their local BustBuy or other store and get the stuff or buy online.

  • ppgreat:

    I think it will just show people, on a broader scale, just how lame and disconnected a company Microsoft really is.

  • Harvey:

    Is there anything that Microsoft isn’t copying? Do you think that they’ll have a “Virus Genius” in the stores šŸ˜‰

  • Al:

    Microsoft brand computers, Microsoft brand smart phones, Microsoft brand software, keyboards, mice, Zune DMPs, X Box 360s and GAMES!!!

    It will be PC Heaven!

    Tryout everything there. Build a state of the art gaming machine yourself. Get a bootleg copy of Windows XP and download the games from the P2P networks. Collect unemployment insurance and play your brains out.

    Microsoft will lose billions on this venture from their twin Windows/Office monopolies.

    Don’t you just love the new economy.

  • CapnVan:

    There are those who don’t recognize the difference between Wal-Mart and Tar-jay?

  • Rob:

    The brass at Microsoft have been staring at their navels too long.

    They are apparently unaware that, short of a minority of geeks, typical PeeCee users do not understand the concept of operating software, and a good bunch them don’t get the concept of application software, either. To them, these are just buttons built into their $399 laptops.

    So why would anyone go shopping for either? Their computer already has everything they need, except music.

  • James Bailey:

    Ha. A friend of mine was just complaining that her PC had viruses. I explained that I didn’t have much of a clue on solving virus problems since I use a Mac.

    Now I can tell her to go to a Microsoft store and ask for help. LOL.

  • Read:

    It’s all part of the stimulus plan. MS drops a billion or two to create retail jobs and mop up some of those Circuit City folks et al. Once it all fails, as it surely will, the economy should be growing and other retail jobs will be available.

  • bc:

    Will there be Wal-Mart inspired $4.88 bargain bins full of Zunes?

  • Dear Mr. ‘Lope,

    Egghead became NewEgg (according to my sources). I hear they’re quite a good place to do business for consumer electronics and computer stuff. I can’t really testify, having not bought anything from them since hearing about them, but I heard they have quite good prices and service.

    Sorry to get all serious. I can’t really think about a Microsoft Store without laughing so hard I wet my pants a little.

    I really can’t wait to see one.

  • Sorry for stacking, forgot to mention, NewEgg doesn’t have a brick and mortar storefront. It’s all online these days.

  • Sounds like they’re dreaming.

  • Todd Larason:

    There’s no connection between Egghead and Newegg. What was left of Egghead (the egghead.com domain name and maybe some inventory) was bought by Amazon.com.

  • gagravaar:

    This is going to be fun to watch…

    Imagine the scene: Microsoft opens it’s store, hoping that people will walk through the door and fully grasp that Microsoft software can help their digital life and will be wowed by everything they have to offer and they won’t go to that funny fruit store down the street.

    However what will happen is that Joe Sixpack will walk through the door walk up to the counter and say, “Ug! Computer not work, you fix!” (Along with the 20 people behind them with similar complaints).

    The patient (and butt-ugly) Microsoft genius with say, “I’m very sorry sir, but you issue is a hardware issue and I’m afraid Microsoft only deal with software, I can give you the number of the Dell support-line?”

    Mr Sixpack will then say, “Ug! Dellman say your software got virus, you fix!”

    The Genius eyes will then light up and say, “Aaaah, yes sir then we can help you, we sell virus killing software starting at $59.95 per month for our basic package.” He then hands him a leaflet.

    Mr Sixpack numbly hands over his credit card, “just make computer work – me want pr0n!”

    At the end of the month Microsoft will say that their software stores are a great success, having sold millions of software packages that help their customer get more from their computer purchase.

    If anything, this will force more consumers into Apple stores because for the first time, Microsoft will meet the great-unwashed PC buying public – and their problems. I really don’t think Microsoft realise that aspect at all – they really are that arrogant and full of themselves.

    The will not be able to cope – it will be a PR disaster. All Apple needs to do is air a well-timed Mac vs PC add that targets this sh*t storm, and watch them come through the doors.

  • bkharmony:

    Mac : Target :: MicroSoft : Wal-Mart

    Simple, really.

  • Nerg:

    At last! somewhere to buy a Zune! Oh wait a minute… I’m in the UK

  • Sigivald:

    In fairness, Microsoft hardware is actually quite nice (keyboards, mice, etc.).

    The idea that they need retail stores is bogglingly hilarious, though.

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