Microsoft stores: a very broad church
The Apple Stores have been an undoubted bonanza for the company. I have to say I feel a little sorry for approved resellers caught within the catchment area of a new Apple Store. All their custom is drawn like a magnet to the shining new palace. Or, should I say, church. To many, an Apple Store is the place to worship the blessed Steve and all his doings.
So what can we expect from Microsoft? I certainly look forward to a store full of gadgets and I might even find something to buy. They will be a welcome addition to the High Street. But I can't help feeling that there they are on an uphill slope because of the need to be fair to a wide range of partners and computer manufacturers. It will be difficult to please everybody all of the time.
Apple's great strength is its focus: Software and hardware all under one roof. If you are an Macista, your choice of computer is limited to a pro, a consumer desktop and a family of four laptops. Immediately the choice is narrowed and it becomes relatively easy to make a decision. If you stick to Apple, you are not always wishing you'd bought something else ("should I maybe have got the HP or the Sony, or perhaps even the Dell?...."). The worst you'll suffer is doubt over a 13in or a 15in MacBook Pro. The choice in the Microsoft chapel will be far ranging and the poor customers won't know which sect to choose. It's a very broad church, held together solely by the operating system. It is by no means certain that the Apple model can be reproduced that easily.