Can You Plagiarize a Store?

Lucy and HarpoThe first new Microsoft Store has opened in Scottsdale, and…it looks stunningly like an Apple Store. Same basic layout with computers lining the walls and on tables in the center with software and accessories in the back, same staff in brightly-colored T-shirts, same approach to window dressing. The one distinctive thing I see in the video below is the video wall, which–as rumored--wraps around the entire store. If someone kidnapped and blindfolded you, then took you here and removed the blindfold, you might think you were in an Apple Store for a moment until you noticed the computers weren’t Macs. (I can’t tell what brands are represented from the video, but they’re presumably washed with synthetic Unicorn tears.)

I hope the stores are a tremendous success, since it would be nice if Windows users across the nation got access to the level of hand-holding and instant tech support that’s standard at the Apple Stores. (Which, incidentally, aren’t perfect–for instance, I’d much prefer to pay at a register than have to track down a roving clerk with a handheld payment terminal–but have most Windows-centric stores beat in most respects that matter.) Judging from the lack of imagination displayed in the video, though, Microsoft should be put on some sort of extended mandatory hiatus from making snarky comments about Apple. Let’s say six months.


18 comments

  1. Keith Shaw October 22, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    Some people shouldn’t be wearing brightly colored T-shirts. Just sayin.

  2. Keith Shaw October 22, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    Also, about two minutes later, the customers realized they were in a Microsoft Store and all ran out, screaming.

  3. Kevin G Clark October 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm #

    Woah… I believe this is what one would call a ‘negative reality inversion’! But, what’s that saying?… imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (sic).

    If it improves the PC experience and feeling, why not?

    Congrats.
    Kevin G.

  4. Paul Judd October 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    Harry, in reguards to this line:

    Which, incidentally, aren’t perfect–for instance, I’d much prefer to pay at a register than have to track down a roving clerk with a handheld payment terminal

    I should point out that every single time I have shopped at the local Apple store (with one or two exceptions), that I have been able to stand in line at the front register and check out like any other retail store – the only exceptions were when I was purchasing pricier hardware that a employee had to go in back to get anyway. I have never had to track down an employee anyway, they seem to come right to me anyway. The end result is the same, I pay my money, and I am on my way.

  5. Tom October 22, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    All the computers on display are Macs running Boot Camp… JK 😉 Although it would complete the illusion…. maybe someone should suggest it to steve balmer?

  6. NanoGeek October 22, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    Don’t look now, but Microsoft’s official website just has transformed into a very Apple-esqe look.

  7. Lawrence Velazquez October 22, 2009 at 2:46 pm #

    They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but this is ridiculous.

  8. Josh October 22, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    Just a quick note. I went to the store today and they have roving cashiers, just like the apple stores. They also have big lanyards with the employee’s name on it, just like the apple stores.

  9. hobbs October 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    Where is Windows shill saying that this store looks great and that Windows had already preannounced this concept even before Steve Jobs was born!

  10. Constable Odo October 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    Yes, Microsoft can and did like they plagiarized many other ideas. I’m sure that those Microsoft employees were forced to sit and watch dozens of Apple retail store openings and told to copy every act and nuance. The claps, the high fives, the running, everything right down to the T-shirts and lanyards. No point in reinventing the wheel. Just steal it off somebody else’s vehicle. Maybe at the next Apple store opening Microsoft people won’t be able to tell the difference and think it’s a Microsoft retail store.

  11. Erik October 22, 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    You can actually get sued with a claim of trade dress appropriation for creating a store that mirrors a store design created by an established brand. The idea is that in doing so you are attempting to trade on the positive reputation of the brand you are copying. Of course, Apple wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell with such a suit, because without the Apple logos everywhere it’s obvious that the Microsoft store isn’t an Apple venue.

  12. IcyFog October 22, 2009 at 11:20 pm #

    I like the decentralized checkout apect of Apple stores.

  13. Jeffsters October 22, 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    In a press release, Microsoft listed all the freebies associated with the opening:

    First 1,000 people to visit the store will get 2 tickets (each) to the Ashley Tisdale concert
    First 100 people to visit the store get an Ashley Tisdale autograph after the concert
    First 1,000 people to visit the store will receive a free Grand Opening Day gift bag.
    First 350 people to purchase a PC will get a free copy of Office Home & Student.
    First 1,000 people to purchase a PC will get a free HP D1660 printer.
    Anyone who purchases a PC between 10/22/09 and 12/31/2009 will receive 50% off their purchase of Windows 7 software.

    THAT is what MS has to do to get a line and not be embarrassed witch itself is embarrassing.

  14. Eric October 23, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    That’s just sad. I’d like to see a video of the store 6 months from now to see how that wrap-around video wall is holding up, and if they’ve budgeted for someone to keep all of those monitors calibrated.

  15. Robert October 24, 2009 at 5:29 am #

    I think it’s a great idea. I’m always in favor of compitition in the business world. But with all my experiences with Microsoft’s OS’s, I wonder how dedicated to the consumer they will be down the road. I’ve used their OS’s from DOS to Vista. Since I’ve started visiting the Apple stores, because of my purchases of 3 ipods, I’ve been very impressed. If I didn’t have so much money invested in PC’s and equipment, I would have switch over to Apple. Twice I’ve been in because of a minor problem with the ipods. One they repaired right on the premises, and the other they just handed me a brand new ipod, in the box…That’s SERVICE:

  16. Homer Sampson October 24, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    why the vitreol for microsoft pcs? When mac was in its dying days and steve jobs was bounced to the curb outcry came to save the competition from their own incompetance, but competition helps us the consumer, why suckle at the teet of Apple, or Microsoft or whoever, you can own a ipod and a PC or a zune and a Mac or a Pc to take with you and a Mac at home. The hatred on both sides is hilarious, we just buy what one of only 2 companies puts out, do we really want to give it all to either one of them?

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