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Need Staff? There’s an Apple Store for That

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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.

21 Responses to “Need Staff? There’s an Apple Store for That”

  1. Microsoft hasn’t seen a market it doesn’t want to dominate. I actually bought Windows 1, and carefully resealed the package so I could return it. I signed up for MSN as my ISP. That didn’t last long. I bought a Microsoft wireless router. Now hardly anyone remembers they existed. They tried to sell watches; I resisted that one. They gave me Vista Ultimate and Windows 7 Ultimate for free–pardon me while I yawn. Now they are going to try their hand at out-appling the Apple Store. Given their track record of entering markets outside their core incompetency, we should all go to the Microsoft store quickly, before they close. Then when we tell people there used to be Microsoft stores, we’ll have some credibility.

    Now, where are the Microsoft Potato Chips? Aisle 7?

  2. Howie Isaacks

    You hit this right on the nail! One of the many reasons why the Apple stores have been so successful is because Apple’s products really do just work, and customers are able to see that easily. When I worked at the Apple store at Willow Bend, one of the demos that I did was to launch every app on a low end machine so that the customer could see that even the slowest Mac could launch EVERY app on its hard drive at the same time and not crash. Try that on a Windows PC.

    I think that the only people that Microsoft will manage to poach are those who haven’t really drank the Cool Aid. If that’s the way it works out, let Microsoft have them. Apple doesn’t need people who will jump ship over to Microsoft. In the end, people have to take the jobs that will be best for them. If working for Apple isn’t good for you, then leave.

  3. Спасибо. В этом блоге комментаторы хоть нормальные.. А то пишут обычно в комментарии ерунду всякую.

  4. I’m an Apple fanboy but maybe it’s not just the stores and staff that MS is copying. Maybe they’ll run their own line of MS-branded hardware too so they can also ensure that “things just work”. OSX is the superior OS of course, and that’s what we pay for apart from the seamless experience but if MS can pull off selling cheaper machines with that seamlessness, maybe it could work.

  5. I think the funny part of MS creating stores is, well, they really won’t be selling anything. Main stream MS users of Windows don’t actually buy the product, they just shop for the cheapest PC on the market and it happens to have Windows on it. Then when they find out the cheap plastic box they bought doesn’t do exactly what they want or stops working one day they’ll head to the Microsoft store for tech support.

    So MS is going to open tech support centers and sell nothing. I bet this venture will quietly close it’s doors in less than 2 years.

  6. @James Dempsey “I think it’s shocking that MS thinks that just hiring away the people will duplicate the success” Yea, I bet you they got in a board room and said “All we have to do is hire their employees and we will be rich” meeting over, sign the leases and wait for the money to roll in, I am sure that’s how much thought went into it *eyes roll*

  7. Why is this being teased, or presented like it’s some big shock? Microsoft is trying to launch a viable and successful retail operation. Apple has the best one for computers (and from what I understand, the make more per square foot than just about any other US retail operation). Therefore, they’re the market leaders.

    Wouldn’t it be shocking if Microsoft DIDN’T try to hire the best staff it could?

  8. I have some doubts about the longterm viability of an MS store, first outside of xbox and zune they don’t actually make most of the products they sell, granted they can partner with some OEMs for computers, but this will often be at a very small margin compared to apple stores due to smaller computers tend to be bought in brick and mortar stores which are low margin, as most more powerful computers will be custom built so not sold in store.

    If reports are accurate about significantly more pay, then MS will have a higher operating cost than Apple, lower margin per product and already had less need for a direct channel for sales than Apple when they started building stores.