In a move that shocked only those people who haven't operated a personal computer in 20 years, Microsoft recently announced
that they'd be "lightly borrowing" the Mac Store concept by launching their own chain of trendy mall-bound retail boutiques. They hope this will give them a more direct line of communication with their consumers, create a concrete relationship with the public and provide opportunities for public relations interface and a slick, coherent new image. You know, all the things it did for Apple.
But in case any Microsoft executives read this blog, I feel it's my duty to inform them of two facts.
1. It won't.
2. That's okay.
Let’s back up. I think the best way to explain why the Microsoft stores are going to be a laughable failure is to answer the age-old debate between PCs and Macs. And here’s the answer, as disappointing as frothing fanboys may find it: they’re just different. Both have a place in the market, and they'll make money as long as they stick to their rightful domain.
Macintosh is elitist. That’s its thing. That elitism may come in the form of family-friendly machines with bright colors and giant buttons, but it’s still an elitism, simply because of the level of image involved. Buying a Mac has become “a lifestyle choice,” from the Apple sticker on the rear window of your Prius to the black turtleneck guarding you against the fog of a Northern California morning.
And that elitism is built right into the machine. Apple’s slogan is “It just works,” but it could as well be “Hopefully it just works, because if it doesn’t you don’t have a lot of options.” They’ve gotten better since the Linux makeover but, by and large, if my Mac breaks down, I tend to just drop it from my balcony and order another.
The point is, Macintosh doesn’t have time to let you fiddle around with their insides; they’re too busy