It will go down in the history of technology sales as either the most brilliant marketing scheme in history or the largest tactical blunder of all time. The iPhone 4 launch at San Diego’s Fashion Valley Mall Apple Store won’t be the only big event happening on June 24th. Microsoft has also chosen that day to launch its fourth Microsoft-branded retail store.
Microsoft began opening retail stores almost a year ago in hopes of tapping the same magic that seems to surround Apple’s retail outlets. Microsoft stores channel the same minimalist, hipster aesthetic right down to the overlying cheerful, t-shirt wearing sales associates. It is such an obviously derivative attempt to replicate the Apple Store experience that its little wonder Steve doesn’t have a cabal of lawyers in Cupertino figuring out if they can sue Redmond for it. In all previous instances, Microsoft has made a concerted attempt to locate as close as possible to existing Apple Store venues. The previous three have all been opened in close proximity.
With the launch of the San Diego location, Microsoft may have gone looking for a fight but gotten more of a fight than they bargained for. The anticipation and excitement around the iPhone 4 release is starting to build and should be at a fever pitch by the 24th. While one can hope the new store will have a successful opening day, you have to wonder if all of those perky young employees in their brightly lit new store will be wasted on the event happening next door. Microsoft versus Apple may largely be a fight from years gone by, but it is indicative of the world we live in today. I suspect come June 24th, the Microsoft Store associates will be waiting for their shift to be over so they can go next door and buy their new iPhone 4.
What do you think of Microsoft’s strategy? Is it brilliant and crazy enough to draw customers on iPhone launch day? Is this just another instance of Microsoft being out of touch with reality? Let us know in the comments section.
Cast your vote.