Microsoft has opened Microsoft Stores, the company's retail outlet endeavor, in Scottsdale, Arizona; Mission Viejo, California; Lone Tree, Colorado; San Diego, California; and Oak Brook, Illinois. Assuming this new business venture is a success, or perhaps whether they are successful or not, there will be more retail outlets coming soon.
Obviously, Microsoft has looked at the success of the Apple retail outlets and has decided to make a foray into the market. The problem is Apple has a cultural mystic that draws customers to stores for the "experience," while Microsoft is perceived much more pragmatically. Despite marketing campaigns like "Where Do You Want to Go Today" and "Windows 7 Was My Idea," Microsoft cannot shake the image of a soulless mega-corporation.
I am probably not a good judge of the merits of Microsoft Stores since I find the Apple "experience" more akin to a mindless-controlling cult than a place to buy an MP3 player, but I would go to a Microsoft Store just to see what it was like. What about you -- would you run out to the Microsoft Store every time a new Zune hit the market? Would you visit one just to say you did? Or would you avoid that wing of the local mall on the outside chance that you might accidently be seen in a Microsoft Store?
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Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.