Microsoft Steps on Apple Turf with First Northern California Store



Microsoft opened doors on its first retail store in Northern California just a few steps away from an Apple store.

Apple employees at the Westfield Valley Fair mall in Santa Clara must have had a strong sense of  déjà vu watching people camp outside waiting for the doors to open on Microsoft’s 4,000-square-foot shop today. The proximity is unlikely to go unnoticed, since the mall is about 7 miles away from Apple’s Cupertino headquarters.

“I feel bad for those guys in Apple,” said Blake Contreras, a 12-year-old from San Jose who stayed overnight so he could be first in line for the grand opening. “Microsoft’s having this big party and the Apple employees just have to sit there and watch.”

Tellingly, the buzz at the Microsoft retail store isn’t about the computers.

Fans waited in line overnight for swag and tickets to free concerts (The Black Keys and Joe Jonas) plus a chance to meet the artists. Pairs of tickets were given away to the first 700 people, assuring that there will be a good crowd for both of the concerts in this pre-holiday shopping weekend. If that weren’t enough to get people in, football legend Joe Montana is playing a Kinect tournament in the store Friday night.

The one event tied to a product makes me wonder whether getting people in to a Microsoft store to actually buy stuff may the real challenge.

Love thy neighbor could take on a whole new meaning if people wander through Microsoft and buy from Apple instead.

Via Inside Bay Area

  • Clarktaylor41

    There has been a Microsoft store at Century City Westfield in LA for, like, ever. Nice research.

  • Clarktaylor41

    What? I correct the article in the comments and then you remove my correction from the page. OP was “Microsoft opens first California Store”. I commented there has been one in LA for a while. They update the article and remove my post.

  • Brandon Dillon

    Your last sentence doesn’t fit the rest… Who cares?

  • ticklemyelmo

    Dude the title says northern California.. Century City is in SoCal..

  • GregsTechBlog

    Seriously? Is there a single person at Microsoft with a creative bone in their body?

  • Tombo

    What’s there to buy at a M$ store? Windows and Office? XBox? I can get one of those at Target. I don’t get it.

  • Gregintosh

    They had to give things away and have celebrities come. They could take no chance that people wouldn’t show up and it would become a laughing stock in the industry. The real question is going to be, is this store going to make any money, and is it going to change any minds.

    In a way, thats quite a challenge. Apple stores changed hearts & minds as people tried out something new and different. Microsoft is the status quo, so I am not sure what they really hope to accomplish here. Everyone already knows how to use Windows. They are not going to win Apple or Linux converts the way Apple stores allowed Apple to win over Windows converts.

    It seems to be a case of “Apple stores are popular, therefore we must build stores that look and feel like theirs so we can be popular too” rather than a well thought out plan.

  • Nicole

    Umm. No one removed your comment about the correction. We corrected the headline & copy just after it went live – the comment and the correction were more or less at the same time. Your original comment is published below.

  • Daibidh

    Shaa, dude.  And does Microsoft make any money off it’s retail chain?

  • Lake Elkhorn Park User

    There is a fair amount of economic research into markets and specialization.  When you have multiple fruit vendors on the same street, multiple jewelers, multiple flower shops etc, instead of less business for each, you get a multiplier effect where people prefer to go to the location with multiple stores instead of a single store, can increase foot traffic and sales.  Microsoft putting a store right next to an Apple store, may make it even more likely that people that are purchasing computers will be able to easily see Apple products in comparison.  Going to be very difficult though – Apple tends to be willing to pay for good looking stores and expensive locations and can afford it due to higher profit margin sales.  Microsoft will likely need to subsidize heavily to maintain store locations and may result in just shifting sales away from channel partners like Best Buy and online retailers.

  • Jackie Spellen

    Seriously?  Well, that’s great!  What are they selling?  Microsoft software, computer, ipods, windows iphones, etc???  However, I wonder if this store would get the traffic Apple has?

    I wish them all the best.  However, my job lives in the Apple Store.  My friends and family, lives in the Apple store on 59th st..  So, I hope they could get one of these stores her on 59th st in NYC.  Otherwise, apple employees and its awesomeness will be fine watching you grow or close.

  • Honyant

    It is very brave of Microsoft to put their store so close to Apple wher people can do comparison shopping.

  • ctt1wbw

    I laugh everytime MS opens a store.  You go there to buy someone else’s computer?  LOL

  • JoeBin

    What I want to know is what do people bring to the wannabe Genius Bar at the Microsoft Store? Can they bring in their 3-yr old eePCee? Last year, I went to the Apple store and brought in a 4-year old MacBook with a flickering screen that was handed down to me by a friend. It was out of warranty, so the Genius figured the part and labor would cost me $60. I picked up the MacBook 2 days and 60 bucks later with a perfectly working screen. 

    What do MS wannabe Geniuses do when someone brings in faulty hardware? Microsoft didn’t make it, so what do they do? They don’t make computers. They don’t make phones. Do they fix faulty HP laptop? Would they fix an HTC Windows phone?

    I went to the Apple Store 2 weeks ago with an iPhone 4 home button that wasn’t responding consistently. The Genius reseated the button, but by the end of the week the problem reoccurred. When I went in last week, the 2nd Genius saw on his computer screen that I had been at the Genius bar the week prior. He asked me if I backed up my iPhone 4 (yes), then asked me to wipe out my iphone. He took my phone then brought out a new one. He activated the new iPhone 4, and I was heading out the door 11 minutes later. I was once again a happy and loyal customer.

    Is there any way Microsoft can match that kind of service in their stores? I don’t think so… not even close.

  • Applefan

    Wow, they needed to give tickets away just to get people to come to the store?  How lame.  When ever Apple opens a new store, they don’t have to give away expense concert ticket to get people to come, they give out a free commemorative t-shirt and thats it.  I went to one, and there was at least 150 people at the opening of not even a new store, a remodeled store!!!  All I can say is, good luck competing with Apple, Microsoft, because if this train continues, what will happen to your stores, will be what happened to your Zune.

  • David Clark

    Just like Amazon with the Kindle, Barnes & Noble with the Nook, and Google with Android, Microsoft has to give away free ‘swag’ in order to gain any type of customer base. 

  • oakdesk23

    Malls tend to group stores together in certain areas of a mall for this reason. The shoe stores aren’t necessarily next to each other, but there isn’t going to be one at the north end, one at the south end and a couple next to the food court. 

  • djrobsd

    Well said.  Now in the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego you can check out all the Sony laptops at the Sony store, then cruise over to Microsoft and check out all their hideous wares, and finally jaunt over to Apple to see their fabulous Macbook pros, all without having to move the car.  And, to make things even better, Best Buy is only a few blocks down the street. :)

  • djrobsd

    I never see anyone walking out of the Microsoft store here in San Diego with stuff, but people almost always walk out of Apple with something.  Unlike Apple, I think Microsoft uses their store as a loss leader to help them promote their sucky ass operating system.  

  • Steven Chaffer

    Ya but he resigned, gave the company to the red-faced idiot whio dances on stage, and then he tried to save the world from AIDS. 

    Wait…what..creative?  ,,,no. sorry. 

  • Bobjones

    Um, does anyone else see the guy in the lime-green shirt throwing up a gang sign?

  • Andrew John

    Of course they lined up. They wanted the most popular item Microsoft has to offer. A software licence.

  • Dan Markus

    Every time Apple opens a store people line up outside to spend money… when Microsoft opens a store they have to spend money (in form of concert tickets and promotional games with stars) to get people to line up outside? I wonder who is making money and who is losing money…

  • tom

    Microsoft does not sell most have products. Any thing worth while you can just download. Dont see the point of ever walking into a MS store. It is like the sony store that I walk by every day. There is no real use for it.

  • Commonman

    They didn’t happen to breakout into a dance like in 2009?

  • doro86

    Microsoft is good but cant compete with Apple..

  • baby_Twitty

    Had the same problem with my iphone 4 just before its warranty expired. They changed 1 for me right away, no questions asked.

  • Dan B

    What’s it going to be? “Let me show you how to use Microsoft Word… Oh and here’s an Xbox.”

  • Dan B

    What’s it going to be? “Let me show you how to use Microsoft Word… Oh and here’s an Xbox.”

  • GH

    Lol, “Microsoft if good”  huh?

  • Nudsui

    THE BLACK KEYS!!! :0 I would have been there as well…just I woulndt have bought anything so technically i guess they would lose money

  • Len Williams

    When Apple opens a new store, people line up to buy iPhones, iMacs, iPods and iPads. Apple stores never have to resort to give-aways or freebies (other than an occasional t-shirt) because people love their products. I’d like to see Microsoft have the courage to open a new store without doing any of these “free tickets” shlock marketing, and see how many people show up. What is laughable is that MS doesn’t seem to realize that they’re actually creating negative PR for themselves by having to give away stuff to get people to the store. The concept of creating excellent products seems to evade them.

  • John Neumann

    Keep dreaming the dream 12-year old Blake Contreras from San Jose!

  • GregsTechBlog

    I hope you’re not saying that Bill Gates was creative. He was just as much of an offender to the creative process as Ballmer. 

    And he’s still a nutter who won’t let anyone in his family use Apple products. 

  • imajoebob

    C’mon, Blake’s already living the dream with his career through Central Casting.

  • Thn945

    When is my turn to get free concert tickets from a Microsoft store?

  • Thn945

    Agree, remember Microsoft went to court to use the name “App Store”

  • Evan Benford

    I guess the Asian guy in the gray jacket next to him isn’t throwing one up though huh?