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Entries in Genius bar (8)


Ten Reasons Microsoft Retail Will Fail

We put our heads together to bring you this list. As former Apple Retail employees, I'd like to think we have some perspective on what works and what doesn't with Apple's retail initiative, and why Microsoft can't hope to do as well. Let's Dive In...

#10. No fanatical fanbase. Yes, there are people who love Microsoft products. But we're talking about a different kind of fanaticism here. We're talking about the type of thing that spawned two Apple-fan movies this year alone. We're talking about people camping out for days before a store opens. Sorry Microsoft, your fans just aren't that wild for your products. Perhaps a possible exception for the xBox. There's a difference between loyalty, and being locked into a system.

#9. No Genius Bar Equivalent. Barring a major shift in how Microsoft handles customer support, there's no way they can create an equal to the genius bar. There are far too many different systems with far too many configurations. People can call Microsoft from the comfort of their home and be told they need to call Dell/Acer/Lenovo for their problem.

#8 No Product To Sell. Microsoft, you don't make computers. It sounds like you won't be making phones either. So that leaves you with Windows, Zunes, optical mice, and xBox consoles. An xBox is easy enough to find. I think everyone who wants a Zune has found one. I don't think people will be lining up to buy mice, and last time I checked, finding a copy of Windows to buy wasn't very difficult.

#7 Alienate Partners. Apple has managed to keep and even grow relationships with Best Buy, Wal Mart, etc. while increasing their own retail presence. Microsoft might be able to keep those same channels happy, but what about hardware makers? Will Dell be thrilled to see Lenovo laptops in the Microsoft store? Would HP be welcome? How do you appease the people who actually make the hardware your OS runs on, if presumably some computers will be present in the store?

#6 Products Aren't Sexy. In the early days, the Apple Stores brought people in simply by the stunning design not only of the stores, but the products as well. These were exciting and new shiny objects that many had never touched before.

#5 What Comes After Windows 7? You could almost sell me on the idea of Microsoft showrooms for Windows 7, and Windows 7 alone. Microsoft seems pleased with the results of their "Mojave Experiment," so I can imagine them wanting to get more people to see/play with their new OS. If you build a store around that though, what do you do after the OS is released and everyone who wants has had a chance to try it?

#4 Dress for Success? Close your eyes. (well finish reading this first...) You've just walked into your local Microsoft store. How are salespeople dressed? Do they wear khakis and polo shirts, leaving you to think you've accidentally stepped into a Circuit City (how's CC doing, by the way?) Do they wear t-shirts and jeans in an attempt to look just like the Apple employees? Do they wear some sort of cheeky Geek Squad-esque costume/uniform?

#3 The Economy. There are two types of computers selling right now: Macs and netbooks. Apparently in bad economic times, some people look for the best value/quality for their money. Those people are buying Macs. Others look for the bare minimum to get by. Those people are buying netbooks. Where does that leave Microsoft? No Mac ships with the Windows OS. Many netbooks use a flavor of linux, and those that do use windows, use XP, or seem to almost begrudgingly have Vista installed. So Microsoft, are you going to try to convince the value shoppers that they need a bigger, more expensive system, or will you try to talk Apple shoppers down to a cheaper computer, a computer which you most likely won't even have in store? Or maybe, just maybe there will be a Mac in there, running Windows 7 through Boot Camp... Hmm... we might have to re-think this whole thing...

#2 Bill Gates is Gone. If Gates had launched this initiative while he was still at Microsoft, maybe, just maybe it would fly. He would've brought a certain geek cred, and he always had a vision of where computing was headed. Sometimes right, sometimes wrong, you always knew he had a vision. I don't know what Microsoft's vision is these days. Apparently it's to look at what Apple's done in retail, and copy it. Which brings us to...

#1 Apple Already Did It. You cannot beat Apple for store design. You cannot beat Apple for buzz in a mall environment. (tangent: one of the secret strengths of Apple is the relationship building it does with other mall tenants. The traffic the stores generate benefits everyone.) Apple has created a formula that while imperfect, cannot be perfected by Microsoft. You don't think the same way. Any company selling an OS in no fewer than five versions cannot be expected to simplify or improve the retail computer shopping experience.



Not All Apple Stores are Created Equal

I came across this story over at The Consumerist describing a customer's experience at one Apple Store versus another. It seems the ball was dropped on a repair issue that forced the customer to take his computer to another Apple location where the repair was expedited and completed immediately. As a former Mac Genius, and current Apple Store customer, I do believe Apple provides the best customer service experience in all of retail today, however sometimes the quality of service may vary based on a few things.

When. The time of day you arrive can greatly affect your service. I found I provided my best service earlier in my shift, either 9am or 1pm if I was closing. Also typically the Genius Bar is less busy when the store first opens (although there may be a flood of broken iPod customers) and less busy on weekdays.

Where. If you happen to live near multiple Apple Store locations, I'd pick the one that is typically less crowded. Not only will you probably receive more time with a Mac Genius, but they should have less repairs in their queue, ensuring you get your repair back faster.

Who. Sometimes is all comes down to the Mac Genius who helps you. The reality is some do a better job than others. Some are more knowledgeable and experienced, and just interact with customers better.

If you do have a bad experience at Apple retail let them know about it. Believe it or not they do listen.


New product launches from the genius' perspective

Soon, Apple stores around the world will be swamped by people looking to buy the new iPhone. What kind of preparation goes into that kind of launch by the people who have to troubleshoot the devices as they're potentially seeing them in person for the first time? Find out in this segment of Root Access:


Genius Bar makes a cameo in the new iPhone ad

There it is! No, not the phone... Look at the background... Do those two monitors and logo look familiar?
Thanks for the tip, lanaka.


Root Access 16.2 Three Reasons TO Work At The Genius Bar

Don't throw away those resumes for the Genius Bar just yet! Yesterday our resident genius gave you the top three reasons to NOT work at the Apple Genius Bar. Well today Jamie's back with the three reasons you'll want to work at the Genius Bar.