It took the designer-store concept from Apple (s aapl). It took the Genius Bar concept from Apple. What’s left for Microsoft (s msft) to take from Apple as it gears-up to the launch of its first brick-and-mortar retail stores?
Well, the staff, of course.
According to The Loop, Microsoft is poaching Apple’s retail store managers with the promise of “significant” salary increases and, in some cases, offering to cover all moving expenses. The Loop doesn’t say who its source is, only that it spoke on condition of anonymity. The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple writes;
Once hired, the ex-Apple employees are then contacting some of the top sales people in the Apple retail organization offering them positions at Microsoft retail. They have also been offered more money than what they made at Apple.
Dalrymple says this poaching is a smart move, though I’m not so sure of that. Apple’s staff are trained, shaped and brainwashed inspired by the Cupertino Mother Ship. The Apple Retail Store philosophy runs through their veins. Apple Stores are successful not only because they offer ‘insanely great’ products, but because the staff are carefully versed in the Apple way of life.
Truly, they are Mapple People.
That little slogan on their t-shirts and badges that reads, “I could talk about this stuff for hours”? They mean it, and it’s easy to see why. Forgive me for drinking the Kool-Aid here, but consider how seamlessly software and hardware works in the Apple ecosystem. For the most part things “just work,” right? And when things work well, the experience is a happy one.
Now imagine those same enthusiastic technology-loving Mapple People going to work at a Microsoft Retail Store where Windows 7 doesn’t work the same way on every PC, where OEM crapware and errant drivers cause slowdowns and DLL headaches on a daily basis and it’s near impossible to easily demonstrate even the most basic of digital media management without being forced to sign-in to Windows Bloody Live just to get anything done…
I doubt things will “just work” quite as seamlessly. Not as happy an experience, I imagine. And I’m not speaking as a fanboy either — I’m speaking as a power-user of every iteration of Windows since 3.1.
If Microsoft thinks poaching Apple’s employees will bring a little of the Jobsian Magic to its retail venture, good luck to them, but I reckon they’re in for a nasty shock.