I had a great idea this morning. I figured I’d head to the Microsoft Store in Scottsdale around 10am, waltz in, buy a Microsoft Surface, and then be out in 10 minutes. I assumed the store would be empty. I mean, come on, this is a Microsoft tablet we’re talking about, and who goes to the Microsoft Store anyway?
I was completely wrong. Microsoft’s new tablet, the Surface RT, may not do everything an iPad can, but it’s drawing some pretty big lines to Microsoft retail stores across the country for its launch this morning.
Could it get any sadder? Ten years late, Microsoft is finally set to open its sad sack retail store later today at Tysons Corner, pretty much directly across from the original Apple Store that started it all way back in 2001. Needless to say, the world’s pretty much yawning at the news, and so Microsoft is trying anything to get people to attend the grand opening. I’m not sure what’s sadder, though: the fact that they hired a Jonas Brother to draw in crowds, or the fact that the Jonas Brother they hired, Joe Jonas, is both a Mac user and a former entertainment act for Apple, famously drawing scores of screaming teens to the SoHo Apple Store in 2008.
It looks like Microsoft’s plan to beat Apple in the retail space by building their own Microsoft Stores right across from mall-based Apple Stores is paying off: Microsoft’s successfully chased Apple out of its space in the Bellevue, Washington shopping mall.
It’s something of a pyrrhic victory, though. Apple’s just moving to the second floor of the mall to a larger retail space. Directly overhead, overlooking Microsoft’s store, where it will literally be living in Apple’s shadow. If there was ever a time to LOL, this is it.
Back in the flower of my youth, I took a job at the local mall working as a minimum-wage cashier at a discount clothing outlet permeated with the distinct smell of moth balls. It was awful. My boss had a greasy pencil moustache and a lazy eye and was overly complimentary about the softness of my hands; my only customers were antique, gum-sucking grannies buying pre-soiled brassieres and underpants by the carriage full.
Meanwhile, across the way, my friend Josh had landed himself a job in a posh clothing boutique aimed largely at girls in their late teens and early twenties. It being summer, there seemed always to be a bikini sale going on, and I can’t even count the hours I spent watching him through the greasy yellow plate glass of my work store window, encouraging the buxom and spritely clientele — freshly emerged from the changing rooms in some impossibly flosslike two-piece to show off to their friends — to take a bounce on the complimentary trampolines that had been installed around the show floor. It was enough to make an undersexed teenage boy spill a vein in sheer impotent jealousy.
This memory came flooding back to me when I first saw the picture above of the Mall of America’s new Microsoft Store, which is currently under construction directly across from the Apple Store.