Microsoft is pulling the plug on its chain of retail stores, the company announced Friday. All stores are going to be shuttered for good, although four — in New York City, London, Sydney, and its Redmond campus — will be turned into experience centers that don’t sell products.
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.”
Microsoft’s attempts out replicate Apple’s successes in the retail space have always seemed… well… rather bereft of imagination and mindlessly emulative. Microsoft Stores almost always are opened in the same malls as Apple Stores, sometimes directly across the way. Instead of a Genius Bar, there’s a Guru Bar. And so on.