Skip

They're Leasing Old Gateway Stores
February 13, 2009 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Microsoft announced today, it will open a small number of stores to compete directly against Apple. Some think it's a dubious idea. "In a statement, Microsoft said the first priority of Mr. Porter, who is also a 25-year veteran of Wal-Mart, will be to define where to place the Microsoft stores and when to open them."
posted by Xurando (115 comments total)

 
They had stores before. There used to be a Microsoft store in the Metreon in San Francisco. What's old is new again.
posted by GuyZero at 2:06 PM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


What happens if you're inside a Microsoft store and it crashes? Do you disappear?
posted by orme at 2:08 PM on February 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


Nope. You get deleted for NO REASON. The only saving grace is you can still complain.
posted by gman at 2:51 PM on February 13, 2009


No, it's the same as what happened with games in the show Reboot, if you lose everything is vaporized, and everyone that was in it is killed.
posted by brenton at 2:58 PM on February 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


So: they slap MS signs on old Apple stores, then claim they were there first?
posted by Pronoiac at 2:58 PM on February 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


They had stores before. There used to be a Microsoft store in the Metreon in San Francisco. What's old is new again.

I was there once, it was pretty weird. They mostly sold MS logo stuff that no one was buying. I suspect this go-round it will be XBox 360's and Zunes (that no will be buying).
posted by doctor_negative at 3:16 PM on February 13, 2009


Man, these are gonna be as cool as Radio Shack!
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:18 PM on February 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


What happens if you're inside a Microsoft store and it crashes? Do you disappear?

10 Ways Microsoft's Retail Stores Will Differ From Apple Stores:
1) Instead of Apple's sheer walls of glass, Microsoft's stores will have brushed steel walls dotted with holes -- reminiscent of Windows security.

2) The store will have six different entrances: Starter, Basic, Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. While all six doors will lead into the same store, the Ultimate door requires a fee of $100 for no apparent reason.

3) Instead of a "Genius Bar" (as Apple provides) Microsoft will offer an Excuse Bar. It will be staffed by Microsofties trained in the art of evading questions, directing you to complicated and obscure fixes, and explaining it's a problem with the hardware -- not a software bug.

4) The Windows Genuine Advantage team will run storefront security, assuming everybody is a thief until they can prove otherwise.

5) Store hours are undetermined. At any given time the store mysteriously shuts down instantaneously for no apparent reason. (No word yet on what happens to customers inside).

6) Stores will be named Microsoft Live Retail Store with PC Services for Digital Lifestyle Enthusiasts.

7) Fashioned after Microsoft's User Account Control (UAC) in Vista, sales personnel will ask you whether you're positive you want to purchase something at least twice.

8) Xbox 360 section of the store will be organized in a ring -- which will inexplicably go red occasionally.

9) DreamWorks will design a scary in-store theme park ride called "blue screen of death."

10) Store emergency exits will be unlocked at all times so people can get in anytime they want even if the front doors are locked.
posted by ericb at 3:18 PM on February 13, 2009 [80 favorites]


Microsoft said the first priority of Mr. Porter, who is also a 25-year veteran of Wal-Mart, will be to define where to place the Microsoft stores

He has pieces in one place. He has pieces in another; he has pieces that have never been close to one another.
posted by fleetmouse at 3:21 PM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Stores will be named Microsoft Live Retail Store with PC Services for Digital Lifestyle Enthusiasts.

Heh.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:24 PM on February 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


11) Inexplicably, the stores will have to be completely re-built at least once a year.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:31 PM on February 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


Ah, but will the store have a registry?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:32 PM on February 13, 2009 [12 favorites]


Instead of a Genius Bar they will have a Microsoft® Songsmith™ Piano Lounge.
posted by mazola at 3:34 PM on February 13, 2009 [11 favorites]


What happens if you're inside a Microsoft store and it crashes? Do you disappear?


Most likely. In fact, Sci Fi Chanel made a mini series about this very circumstance years ago. Obviously details were changed to prevent a lawsuit from our good man Mr. Gates, but the nugget is still there for those who know to look. Unfortunately, I'm only halfway through so I can't tell you how to run (ahem) file recovery.
posted by niles at 3:35 PM on February 13, 2009


ok, and another comment


3) Instead of a "Genius Bar" (as Apple provides) Microsoft will offer an Excuse Bar. It will be staffed by Microsofties trained in the art of evading questions, directing you to complicated and obscure fixes, and explaining it's a problem with the hardware -- not a software bug.


I've been working through a huge bug relating to printers in Active Directory, and only recently would tech support refer to it as "a bug" - it used to be a "list of symptoms". Riiiight.
posted by niles at 3:37 PM on February 13, 2009


I'm seeing potential for a Borg flash mob. Maybe mp3 experiment crossover.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:44 PM on February 13, 2009


Guys, this is gonna be big. I think they could end up being the next Circuit City.
posted by mullingitover at 3:45 PM on February 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


Sci Fi Chanel

I think their most popular scent would be No. 6.
posted by RogerB at 3:48 PM on February 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


Inexplicably, the stores will catch fire once a month, but these accidents will be called "hot fixes".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:50 PM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


they've already opened one - it's on the 4th floor, you can't miss it
posted by pyramid termite at 3:56 PM on February 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

So sorry, so sorry, that is rude of me and...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:58 PM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


So they'll sell Zunes (which no one will buy), XBox 360s (which arguably have a market, but most of those people have already bought their XBox), and what? Windows Vista install disks? What else would they sell?
posted by zardoz at 4:00 PM on February 13, 2009


As a Microsoft employee, all I can say as AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I guess we don't have a real strategy for marketing to consumers, so we'll just try a bunch of random tactics that seem to have worked for our competitors, without understanding what made them work.

*sigh*
posted by Slothrup at 4:02 PM on February 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


What happens if you're inside a Microsoft store and it crashes? Do you disappear?

Most likely. In fact, Sci Fi Chanel made a mini series about this very circumstance years ago. Obviously details were changed to prevent a lawsuit from our good man Mr. Gates, but the nugget is still there for those who know to look. Unfortunately, I'm only halfway through so I can't tell you how to run (ahem) file recovery.


I think you have to run around your house finding otherwise useless items that Microsoft claims have special powers. (e.g. the key and the reinstall disc) If you combine the serial number with the receipt ticket you get a strange... kind of... customer service.

I hear there's a Microsoft store in Vegas where every would-be, has-been access-loser hangs out.
posted by Avelwood at 4:03 PM on February 13, 2009


lolmicrosoft
posted by nitsuj at 4:03 PM on February 13, 2009


Lousy idea. There's precious little I'd want to purchase at a Microsoft store (perhaps a bluetooth mouse once a decade?), but I might buy one of these retro MS t-shirts if they were on sale.
posted by porn in the woods at 4:09 PM on February 13, 2009


Microsoft's consumer marketing has always been the weakest part of the whole company. Extending this to retail management is an appalling concept, particularly since it is totally unclear what they would actually be selling. I don't understand why Microsoft seems sometimes to ignore the tremendous value of their own classic strategy: create an ecosystem that makes you money. They can't be Apple and they shouldn't try.

I think a better move might be to send some kneecappers over to Best Buy et al. Putting your interesting, multi-faceted computing devices in a dirty warehouse and then locking the screensavers so you can't try them is probably not the best way to sell product.
posted by selfnoise at 4:18 PM on February 13, 2009


I just heard about this on Marketplace (I think.) They had a quip from someone at CNet to the effect of, "I worry when Microsoft tries to be cool. I'd let pretty much anyone from Apple pick out my clothes for the day. I don't think I'd let anyone from Microsoft do that."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:21 PM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wah? Do they WANT people to mock them? I don't get it. And I don't get their continued inability to understand their cool gap.
posted by Artw at 4:23 PM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


can we just change the post title to:

[Free thread for your tired-ass Microsoft jokes]
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:24 PM on February 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


I for one welcome these new MSFT retail stores. If they do it right, I think Microsoft has a chance to improve the image of Windows in the minds of customers. I hope they sell computers that don't all the usual OEM garbage installed. Windows (as a client OS) is actually quite nice when you get it without all third party crap installed.

Microsoft makes nice mice and keyboards—I would love to see them design a sexy towers and laptops to compete with Apple's hardware. Dell, et al, have utterly failed to do so.

As a former MSFT employee, I'm hoping for the best.

Of course, I'll still buy all my stuff from Newegg.
posted by jeffamaphone at 4:28 PM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I visited Microsoft's store in the SoMa Metreon in 2002. There was a range of Microsoft software, some overpriced mints, and trinkets made of bike chains. My notes on the visit also mentioned this: "They had a couple electronic pianos with LCD panels that were being hyped as the next generation in player pianos or piano education or something of the sort. One of them had a system lockup."
posted by ardgedee at 4:31 PM on February 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


If they do it right, I think Microsoft has a chance to improve the image of Windows in the minds of customers.

TBH I think the way to do that is to make Windows 7 really good, and IE 8 adequate. Flapping about doing silly catch-up stuff to try and impress mac-types who will automatically hate them anyway does no good at all.
posted by Artw at 4:32 PM on February 13, 2009


There used to be a Microsoft store, years ago, at the Sony (now Westfield) Metreon in San Francisco. It didn't last. I never understood why someone would travel to a fancypants mall to pay premium prices for a copy of Windows.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 4:32 PM on February 13, 2009


hahahahaha this idea is comic gold
posted by cmyr at 4:36 PM on February 13, 2009


Will the stores have no discernible line / check out area and instead force you to try to get the attention of some hipster in a shirt with some unfunny sales slogan in tiny sans-serif type who will ignore you until you actually tackle him, shove him to the ground and force him to let you buy his iOverpricedShinyThing™? Because that would be awesome.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:37 PM on February 13, 2009 [15 favorites]


Maybe the Jerry Seinfeld commercials were leading up to this.
posted by Xurando at 4:44 PM on February 13, 2009


It's a store about nothing! Genius!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:58 PM on February 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


"They had a couple electronic pianos with LCD panels that were being hyped as the next generation in player pianos or piano education or something of the sort. One of them had a system lockup."

A blue screen of silence?
posted by TedW at 5:02 PM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


can we just change the post title to:

[Free thread for your tired-ass Microsoft jokes]


At least no one is spelling it Micro$oft
posted by TedW at 5:04 PM on February 13, 2009


I hear that to reciprocate Apple's token gesture, the giant Zunes in the store window will be powered by OS X.
posted by mullingitover at 5:09 PM on February 13, 2009


At least no one is spelling it Micro$oft

That's because it's spelled 'micro$ux', am I right?

I'll show myself out. It's time to drink.
posted by everichon at 5:11 PM on February 13, 2009


There are way more third-party utilities to improve the Microsoft Store experience than there are for Apple stores.
posted by lukemeister at 5:12 PM on February 13, 2009


[Free thread for your tired-ass Microsoft jokes]

A priest, a rabbi, and Microsoft walk into a bar.

Wait, I forgot the punchline for that one.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:17 PM on February 13, 2009


dirigibleman: "A priest, a rabbi, and Microsoft walk into a bar.

"Wait, I forgot the punchline for that one."


It's "I forget the punchline, but your mother is a whore." The important part is to do this with your best Sean Connery voice.
posted by mullingitover at 5:21 PM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


A priest, a rabbi, and Microsoft walk into a bar.

Cancel or allow?

*rimshot*
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:22 PM on February 13, 2009


Ah, but will the store have a registry?

Yes, but in a nod to tradition it will simply be labeled "Restroom".
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:32 PM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


If they do it right, I think Microsoft has a chance to improve the image of Windows in the minds of customers.

They've made the M.I.B. Neuralyzer a real thing? How cool is that!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:42 PM on February 13, 2009


What a rich, rich comedy vein Microsoft is providing.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:45 PM on February 13, 2009


What happens if you're inside a Microsoft store and it crashes? Do you disappear?

Blue Light Special of Death
posted by brundlefly at 5:45 PM on February 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


ITT: We hate the corporation that hocks inferior products and treats people like shit, and we compare it to the other corporation that hocks inferior products and treats people like shit but has better flair and marketing, which means they're cool.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:55 PM on February 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Mr. Porter, who is also a 25-year veteran of Wal-Mart...

Maybe each store will have Clippy the Greeter.
posted by mazola at 5:59 PM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's a Microsoft store.
Oh, so it's inexpensive?
posted by DU at 6:09 PM on February 13, 2009


So to try to repeat the success of the fashionable, glitzy, high-end Apple stores they hire a guy with 25 years of experience at Wal-Mart?
posted by eye of newt at 6:18 PM on February 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


I just hope there will be really cool windows start-up music chiming each time a customer walks through the front door.
posted by scarello at 6:59 PM on February 13, 2009


"...I'd let pretty much anyone from Apple pick out my clothes for the day. I don't think I'd let anyone from Microsoft do that."

You know, as a former MS employee, I happen to know for a fact that there is a large number of ex-Apple employees who work at Microsoft, particularly MSR.

Also, the cross-licensing between Apple and Microsoft is extremely deep. Much innovation in both platforms has come from both companies. It ain't one way as everyone seems to claim and the appearance I chalk up mostly to MS slowness to market.
posted by bz at 7:27 PM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and the retail thing? Well, if it is anything like the employee store it'll be a snore.
posted by bz at 7:29 PM on February 13, 2009


On the one hand, I think MS has the tech and products to make a really great store. It would be in a very different direction but could be right up there with Apple's.

On the other hand, I don't have much faith they'll manage to do that. MS seems curiously blind and clumsy in these sort of things. It wouldn't surprise me to find some potentially interesting tech switched off and pushed aside in the corner to make space for a giant arrangement of homogeneous Vista boxes piled 5 feet high in the center. (All of them empty).

It also causes me to ponder - do mac cultists outnumber xbots? All things equal, if both armies were pitted against each other in mortal combat to the last man*, which army would win?

*true zealots don't surrender.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:38 PM on February 13, 2009


> do mac cultists outnumber xbots?

There are plenty of Mac users who own XBoxes. The Mac is a pretty good computer and the XBox (+-360) is a pretty good game machine. Neither are ideologies, despite what the behavior of various fans and detractors might make you think.
posted by ardgedee at 7:52 PM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Heh. Last thing I bought at the MS company store on the Redmond campus (or had bought for me, as I was only ever an orange badge) was the Mac version of Office.
posted by Artw at 8:00 PM on February 13, 2009


They can't be Apple and they shouldn't try.

Sigh. This is to compete against Sony, not Apple. Microsoft doesn't sell computers, but they do sell Xboxes, remember? The world does not revolve around Apple. Apple has a smaller share of the market than Betamax did as late as 1986. All Windows 7 has to do is not suck, and apple's market share gains will slow. Microsoft rightly doesn't give a shit about OSX for the same reason that Honda doesn't care about BMW. They both sell cars, but a BMW customer would never consider a Honda Accord to be a substitute for an M5.

The retail concept is important for MS because anyone who's worked with PCs long enough knows that what makes PCs suck is the crapware loaded onto them at the factory by dell and HP, and not so much the OS. Hence the need for programs like this. Just look at that list of crap that isn't made by Microsoft but which loads at startup on new PCs and which consumes system resources. You strip that crap off the PC, and like me, you will have no trouble running Photoshop CS4 on a PC with 1GB of memory and an ancient Athlon XP 3000.

Every time someone samples a PC in a store, they are experiencing Windows not as MS intended but as Dell, HP, emachines, etc have mucked it up and as the store choose to maintain it. As for the latter point, compare the horrific Mac experience at Best Buy with that at the Apple store.

Apple doesn't have this problem, because they control the software and hardware. They also charge you 40% more for the same hardware you can get on a PC. It remains to be seen how that strategy plays out in a recession.

It's is completely true that Vista sucked. It's also obvious that MS acknowledges this, given their allowance of XP downgrades on new machines, and their speed and openness with the Windows 7 beta. If Windows 7 is going to bring back MSFT's credibility, it would make sense that they control the experience and not give PC makers the opportunity to screw it up. They will probably sell other companies' PCs in that store, but if MS is smart, what they sell at that store will have to pass a frightening level of scrutiny and testing. And retail space is cheap now anyhow. Frankly, if I had to buy a windows PC from a retail establishment, I would certainly buy it from a MS store instead of Best Buy, Staples or Walmart.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:19 PM on February 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


"3) Instead of a 'Genius Bar' (as Apple provides) Microsoft will offer an Excuse Bar. It will be staffed by Microsofties trained in the art of evading questions, directing you to complicated and obscure fixes, and explaining it's a problem with the hardware -- not a software bug."

I'm no MS fan, but what do the geniuses at the Apple Store say about the fragility of all the databased iLife applications, not to mention the numerous issues with iTunes/iPod, the various security holes which always pop up with Quicktime, and how utterly craptastic Mac Mail turned out to be, and why does its interface change for no reason with each new version of OS X? And why does deleting an email account involve deleting all the associated email which has already been downloaded, and why not warn people of such catastrophic effects?

Well, those would be a few questions I'd have.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:30 PM on February 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Apple fan != Mac fan. The Apple stores seem to be as much about iPhones and iPods as Macs.

Actually, Apple stores are mostly about iPhone, iPod, and Mac accessories. I think this third party ecosystem is responsible for a large amount of Apple's retail store revenue. Microsoft doesn't have the same thing going for them. It's an amusing reversal compared to the commercial software space.
posted by ryanrs at 8:30 PM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


bz: Yeah, MSR is completely different than the Microsoft cultural stereotype, however I'd say they're a really big exception. I'd compare it to Xerox PARC and how the rest of XEROX was just filled with boring copymachine salesmen.

MSR is very innovative with human-computer interface and has heavy links to the academic community, which is why you probably see a heavy link with Apple. However, I do think there's a big difference with people that work at MSR and people that work at Microsoft Live. People at MSR are capital-S Scientists.
posted by amuseDetachment at 8:32 PM on February 13, 2009


"The retail concept is important for MS because anyone who's worked with PCs long enough knows that what makes PCs suck is the crapware loaded onto them at the factory by dell and HP, and not so much the OS."

I work with PCs and Macs for a living, and I strongly disagree that the OS is not a major part of the problem. For example, a great deal of our time involves cleaning infected Windows computers. If you still have your old Win98 box, it's about as safe as driving a Pinto to take it online. Crapware is a problem, but, aside from having to remove McAfee/Norton and put something decent on there, it's not really a major problem, more of an annoyance.

"Apple doesn't have this problem, because they control the software and hardware. They also charge you 40% more for the same hardware you can get on a PC."

Actually, the last time I did a comparison they charged about the same for the same quality hardware. You can get a cheap PC with cheap hardware with the same specs, but if you want the same brand/quality motherboard, chipset, cpu, etc, it's about the same. You pay a bit of a premium for the name. A lot of people buy AppleCare, which is the only extended computer warranty that Consumer Reports will recommend, and that's a big source of revenue. Buying parts, however, gets expensive, like memory. Most PC OEMs do this, too, but Apple's markup is criminal.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:51 PM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


They had a couple electronic pianos with LCD panels that were being hyped as the next generation in player pianos or piano education or something of the sort. One of them had a system lockup.

It sounds like it would just be cheaper for Microsoft to buy out Radio Shack...
posted by Avelwood at 8:58 PM on February 13, 2009


They also charge you 40% more for the same hardware you can get on a PC.

Curious that you should say that. My company is preparing to release a computer peripheral targeted at certain specialized, high performance computing environments. We need to validate our device on a high performance Windows machine. Our requirements:
  1. Two quad-core 3 GHz processors.
  2. 1600 MHZ front side bus
  3. 4 GB RAM
  4. Two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots
  5. Two PCIe x4 (or greater) slots
The Mac Pro fits the bill at $4100. I'm having real difficulty finding a PC manufacturer that can match these specs, nevermind the price*. Dell, HP, and Lenovo don't even sell such a high-end workstation. We are seriously considering shipping our Windows-based development systems with Mac Pros based on their performance and price. They're also very sturdy and very pretty, especially compared to Dells.

So I'm not convinced Apple is actually charging a premium, given the specs on their machines. Their workstations are the best performing, absolute top-end workstation out there, at any price. My company buys them to run Windows, purely on the basis of the hardware performance. We do not consider the price excessive.

* Any leads would be appreciated. Email is in my profile.
posted by ryanrs at 9:05 PM on February 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


Sigh. This is to compete against Sony, not Apple.

There are so many inaccuracies in your comment, it's like reading Slashdot. Next I'll suspect you'll tell us Apple is just about to go bankrupt. I haven't heard that one in a long while.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:55 PM on February 13, 2009


As a former Gateway Country Store employee, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.
posted by jonmc at 10:03 PM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


They also charge you 40% more for the same hardware you can get on a PC. It remains to be seen how that strategy plays out in a recession.
posted by Pastabagel


This is how ignorance is spread. Someone browses metafilter and reads this comment, and they file it away. Then every time someone brings up mac vs. pc they bring it out. 40 percent, fact. Of course, they don't tell you they got it from someone named Pastabagel.

I've read a lot of studies on the topic, done some comparison shopping, and the results for equal hardware is mixed. But even in pro pc studies I've never heard 40 percent. If there is a website claiming such nonsense, I'd rethink the sites you're visiting.

I'm not sure why you pulled 40 percent out of your ass Pastabagel, but why stop there? 60 percent sounds even better. Yeah, that's it. Macs charge 60 percent over similar PCs! You heard it here, from someone named GTR. If it's in print, it must be true.

As for the stores, it's the iPods and iPhones that bring in the crowds. No one wants a fucking Zune.
posted by gtr at 10:10 PM on February 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Mac fan ≠ OS X fan.

I think Macs generally provide a good bang for the buck, once you start comparing oranges to oranges. Yes, you can buy a cheap as shit Dell or HP for a few hundred bucks. It certainly is not going to compare to a MacBook in terms of I/O functionality or build quality, and that's despite MacBook having some design flaws.

But that's all moot: it's the OS that really kicks ass. OS X is simply a delight to use. In my past five years of using OS X, I have never had to re-install the OS, it has crashed once due to an errant application and never due to an OS problem, has suffered no instability problems, and all this despite installing and uninstalling plenty of freebie and demo software.

It. Just. Works.

I used Windows for the better part of fifteen years. I knew how to make Windows work on every level. I was a fucking wizard. And it was masochism all the way.

By gods, I will never ever go back. The underlying BSD Unix core is rock solid. The OS X GUI is fantastic. The small-vendor software tends to be of higher quality, with better-conceived functionality and reasonable prices. There's a ton of great freebie stuff ported from the Unix community. And all the big name vendors in my work field (publishing) offer Mac versions of their products.

I am ever thankful that I realized that I could buy a Mac, give it a few months trial experience, and if I couldn't make the transition I'd be able to resell it for a few hundred dollars loss. It was a cheap gamble, and am I ever glad I took it.

None of the pain and a lot of gain is all I've ever experienced with OS X.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:26 PM on February 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


What else would they sell?

I think they actually make decent mice and keyboards, and make a good profit selling them. I don't like them much myself, since the keyclick is not nearly loud enough to wake up someone sleeping in another room two doors down the hall, but I haven't heard complaints about them either.

As for the dress sense of Apple and Microsoft employees, I have a google search for you.
posted by ghost of a past number at 10:30 PM on February 13, 2009


They could have nothing like the Genius Bar and for a fair number of people it would be an improvement over the GB. I'm sure some people have had things resolved via the GB, but friends colleagues and I have had occasion to go, dealt with a formidable amount of BS, lies, poor attitudes, sounding ever so sincere about wanting to help, but not actually doing anything.

I am not a violent person, have literally never raised my voice to someone in a store, but I was about ready to jam a dead Ipod into someone's eye with the hope that it would penetrate their brain so I could watch them convulse in the throes of death and relieve myself on them as they took their last breath.
posted by ambient2 at 10:53 PM on February 13, 2009


I love some of their discontinued keyboards.

I haven't used any of their non-discontinued keyboards because why would I buy a new keyboard every ten years?
posted by aubilenon at 10:53 PM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe you don't have a washing machine, or your colleagues' skulls are harder than average.
posted by ghost of a past number at 10:57 PM on February 13, 2009


gtr: I've read a lot of studies on the topic, done some comparison shopping, and the results for equal hardware is mixed. But even in pro pc studies I've never heard 40 percent. If there is a website claiming such nonsense, I'd rethink the sites you're visiting.

I remember doing research on this very topic a while back. Here's what I considered to be my conclusion at the time:

1. Apple hardware is often only a little more expensive than PC hardware, when build hardware is considered. HOWEVER:

2. There's no truly low end on Apple laptops. You can get a cheap PC laptop for $400, lower if you consider netbooks. They start at $1000 with Apple, and while it's not a bad laptop hardware-wise for $1000, the $400 one would do the job for any non-gamer. I have one myself (I do the expensive desktop/cheap laptop thing), and it is entirely adequate for anyone who isn't a gamer or doesn't require a powerful workstation.

3. Low-end Apple Desktops are pretty weak, hardware-wise, for what that kind of money would get you on a PC. The Mac Mini doesn't even begin to compare what you can get for $600 in a PC, and you can't slap a video card in it to make a decent cheap gaming machine. Their high end is usually better... but the low end is what most of their customers should get, not being expert users.

4. Apple's design priorities are sometimes rather stupid. For example, the cheapest iMac only has a 1gb of ram and it costs $1200. That is idiocy. Nothing protects a computer from future-obsolescence more than RAM, RAM is stupidly cheap, and any desktop that costs over $300 should come with 2 GB as a bare minimum. A machine that costs $1200 should have at least 4gb. Apple seems to have a love of packing their machines with expensive, fast processors to the detriment of everything else.

5. Value varies substantially due to periodic updates of their hardware. Right after an update, deals are often quite good. A while after an update, deals can be pretty sad. Right now, I could build a serious quad-core i7 based gaming machine for what the higher-end iMacs cost, and it would utterly destroy them. However, right after their last refresh, they were entirely competitive for the time. I remember this exact situation occurring at the last update.

(Note that I'm not hating on Macs. They combine the security of Linux with the ease-of-use of Windows, and are an excellent choice for users who can't or don't want to handle computer security, or just wants a computer they don't have to screw with. We're just addressing relative hardware values here.)
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:13 PM on February 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Dude on NPR this evening was saying how he cringed whenever he heard about Microsoft trying to be "cool". He further explained by saying, "I'd let someone from Apple pick out my clothes for me for the day, but I wouldn't let someone from Microsoft pick out my clothes for me". I laughed so hard.
posted by Lukenlogs at 11:25 PM on February 13, 2009


Yay for originality!
posted by ghost of a past number at 11:27 PM on February 13, 2009


"Dude on NPR this evening was saying how he cringed whenever he heard about Microsoft trying to be 'cool'. He further explained by saying, 'I'd let someone from Apple pick out my clothes for me for the day, but I wouldn't let someone from Microsoft pick out my clothes for me'. I laughed so hard."

This is the brilliance and failure of the Jobs-run Apple. Their products are so cool you think Apple's employees must have fashion sense (some of them don't - trust me). OTOH, this is precisely why Macs aren't found in many non-creative-oriented business offices. Then again, they haven't tried to capture that market. They really are doing pretty well denting MS' market share lately, better than they ever have since the ascent of Windows in the '90s, but it's all with home users.

The timing of Windows 7 may be such that people simply can't afford to go out and buy more stuff they don't need. One of my clients still runs a 25+ seat medical office on a Windows 2000 domain controller, with many Win2k/XP workstations. We need to upgrade, however, due to end-of-life issues, but it's not easy convincing anyone to spend money right now. Incidentally, a lot of the doctors have Mac laptops and don't login to the domain ...
posted by krinklyfig at 11:47 PM on February 13, 2009


*waits for first penguin to appear on the screen of a crashed display monitor*
posted by cthuljew at 12:44 AM on February 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


[Free thread for your tired-ass Microsoft jokes]

"Free" thread, drjimmy? FREE THREAD? [shakes head condescendingly, laughs]
[pauses for effect, then smiles, sighs as if explaining something completely obvious to a very slow five year old]
See, "Jimmy", this is the Microsoft thread. NOT the so-called "Free" thread. Now, I say "so-called free thread" because the folks that *WANT* you to believe the thread is in fact free, but it isn't. Oh no, no it isn't. Because the so-called "free" thread means you have to pay for SUPPORT! Yes, you need to buy your very own geek. Feed him. House him, etc. etc So I've got five little words for you, "Jimmy". [wipes sweat off head with handy sponge]
total.
cost.
of
owner
ship.

[now screaming, pacing back and forth, making "hand chopping"gesture]
TOTAL! COST! OF! OWNER! SHIP! [repeat for 5 minutes, building up to a crescendo of jumping up and down, sweating profusely]
[collapses onto stool] See, "Jimmy" (as if that's your name) you need to amortize the*cost* of the thread across the *length* of the thread. Then, and ONLY THEN, will you see that the so-called "Free" thread IS NOT ONLY NOT FREE AT ALL, but costs NEARLY SEVEN TIMES AS MUCH AS THIS, the Microsoft thread.

[/ballmer]
posted by swell at 1:03 AM on February 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


> do mac cultists outnumber xbots?

There are plenty of Mac users who own XBoxes. The Mac is a pretty good computer and the XBox (+-360) is a pretty good game machine. Neither are ideologies, despite what the behavior of various fans and detractors might make you think.


No. "mac cultist" does not refer to macs or their merits. "xbot" does not refer to xboxes or the merits. These are (oft derogatory) terms applied to people who base their personal identity on brand loyalty to an extent that is ridiculous and mock-worthy to many people.

It wasn't about devices. You can't build armies with devices (yet).
(But if you could, they wouldn't surrender either :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:28 AM on February 14, 2009


hahahahaha this idea is comic gold comic sans
posted by cmyr at 4:36 PM on February 13 [+] [!]

posted by blueberry at 1:31 AM on February 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


(I get your point that they're not enemies - their banes are not each other, but that wasn't what I meant - I'm more interested in the amassing ARMIES of faithful side of things :)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:37 AM on February 14, 2009


why would I buy a new keyboard every ten years?

I use Microsoft keyboards, and I like them fine -- but I do find myself having to replace them every year or so.

They don't build them like they did ten years ago.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:49 AM on February 14, 2009


I help write and run one of, if not the single, largest .net based websites in the world, but I use macs at home (and iphone and ipod and airports and appletv), and I have an xbox that I'm quite fond of.

I like being a weird data point.
posted by flaterik at 2:01 AM on February 14, 2009




They combine the security of Linux with the ease-of-use of Windows

No, they combine the security of OS X with the ease of use of OS X.
posted by pompomtom at 3:26 AM on February 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Low-end Apple Desktops are pretty weak, hardware-wise, for what that kind of money would get you on a PC. The Mac Mini doesn't even begin to compare what you can get for $600 in a PC

This is true. I just bought a new computer - I had 500 euro to spend and was perfectly willing to switch to a Mac...but there was nothing available in the price range. They're just too expensive
posted by dydecker at 3:38 AM on February 14, 2009


There are way more third-party utilities to improve the Microsoft Store experience than there are for Apple stores.
This store has performed an illegal operation and must shut down.
Please empty your wallet and contact Microsoft Bail Bond Support for assistance.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:43 AM on February 14, 2009


They'll finally have a venue for their big ass table!
posted by blasdelf at 4:19 AM on February 14, 2009


ryanrs: the dual quad mac uses old chips, Dell sells the new i7 chip which is faster. To build an equivelant Dell pc, build one with a i7-965. You can an equivalent speed (faster in most cases) machine with more memory for less than a mac pro.
posted by Osmanthus at 5:52 AM on February 14, 2009


This is going to be a problem for mall management when they need to nuke & pave from space.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:06 AM on February 14, 2009


I am not a violent person, have literally never raised my voice to someone in a store, but I was about ready to jam a dead Ipod into someone's eye with the hope that it would penetrate their brain so I could watch them convulse in the throes of death and relieve myself on them as they took their last breath.

Was this an Apple store in LA or New York? I've heard horror stories from these, but I think what we have there is the general horror of those urban environments spilling over.

I've been to the genius bar several times in Austin, told them what was wrong with my hardware, they've quickly confirmed my diagnosis, and they've very politely filled out a work ticket to affect the repairs, and handed me a receipt without any form of delay.

There was one occasion where a woman at the genius bar next to me was so incapable of using a computer that she was holding the mouse upside down, with the cable emerging from under her wrist, so that every move she made caused the pointer to go the opposite direction on the screen, and she was becoming visibly upset with the dude behind the bar over this, claiming her computer was broken and really giving him some high-quality upper-class entitlement grief. He handled it like a champ, and very calmly, and without invading her personal space, despite her initial unwillingness to unhand the mouse, turned it 180º for her at least twice, as she turned it back around the other way almost immediately and resumed bitching, the first time. I wanted to strangle her with her diamond necklace, and I was just sitting there waiting for the other genius to get my laptop out of the back after a repair. I think some people don't understand what helpdesk personnel go through every day.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:31 AM on February 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Osmanthus: To build an equivelant Dell pc, build one with a i7-965.

i7-965s are silly - the i7-920 can often be overclocked as fast or faster than a 965 can be, and I don't think I've ever heard of a 920 that couldn't beat the 965's stock clock rate. For whatever reason, Intel is selling the entire i7 line underclocked by about 500 mhz.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:35 AM on February 14, 2009


I'm visiting on an aspire one with tinyxp and ubuntu dual-booting. I didn't get a store.
posted by saysthis at 10:04 AM on February 14, 2009


I've used Windows since W95 and I've never seen this "blue screen of death". I don't say this to recommend Windows products, heaven knows I've experienced enough crashes and freezes, but sometimes I feel like I've lived in London a lifetime without seeing the Thames. What am I doing wrong? Or right?
posted by WPW at 10:45 AM on February 14, 2009


"I think some people don't understand what helpdesk personnel go through every day."

Story of my life, man. Although I live in a resort town in a rural area with a lot of artists and old hippies. They aren't as bad as some of the suburbanites, but sometimes those old hippies are not all that open minded when it comes to technology (I sort of consider myself to be an old hippie, so no offense). But we have a lot of real estate agents ... well, I'll just leave it at that.

I just upgraded my hardware, and now I can't get xorg to work with my new PCI-e video card. So, I'm stuck in Windows for the time being. At least I can do my own tech support. Xorg with *nix is a little like the old joke about Windows being a GUI over DOS. I loves my FreeBSD, but using it as a desktop is a pain in the ass sometimes.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:46 AM on February 14, 2009


"I've used Windows since W95 and I've never seen this 'blue screen of death'. I don't say this to recommend Windows products, heaven knows I've experienced enough crashes and freezes, but sometimes I feel like I've lived in London a lifetime without seeing the Thames. What am I doing wrong? Or right?"

MS suppressed the BSOD starting with XP, so it reboots instead of crashing and halting. It still goes through the equivalent, but now you just see it reboot without warning. That's more of a PR move than anything, as nothing has changed all that much, you just don't see the same result. It happens most often with hardware/driver issues, failing memory or cpu, or when parts of system files or the registry go missing, such as through hard drive corruption or failure. If you see a BSOD on an XP or later system, it's often an indication of a serious hardware issue, although some flaky drivers will still do this.

Try installing a stick of known flaky memory, and then do something memory-intensive, like play a modern game. That might do it. Or if you want I could come over and really screw things up ...
posted by krinklyfig at 10:55 AM on February 14, 2009


Well, I guess I'm incompetent because I'm finding myself more and more unable to navigate and use a PC OR an Apple without serious frustrations. After an old laptop died, I bought a Macbook back in the fall and found it far too friendly to graphics and fancy doodads and not nearly as friendly as I wanted for text, downloading photos to where I wanted them to go, etc.

So I gave it to my kid, bought a Gateway with VISTA(!) and am encountering serious issues along the same lines--downloads go somewhere mysterious, I can't see where they are (Vista seems to want to hide the download and give you a shortcut instead, which isn't what I need), can't see the cookie file, etc. etc. And the latest Windows Word is so loaded with crap I don't want, designed to serve 52 other functions other than simple create/write/print that I don't know what to do. I have used for a few decades now, for work and personal use, but I'm finding far too many more recent iterations ignoring what I want and trying to force me to wade through all kinds of crap I don't want or need. Time to head off to the nursing home, I guess.
posted by etaoin at 11:49 AM on February 14, 2009


Well, based on Microsoft's recent endeavors, there is a huge chance that this will fail... epically. They really do seem to be tone-deaf when it comes to marketing. Yeah, we've all seen the Seinfeld commercials—yada yada yada—but, in my opinion, they're innocuous compared to other recent ads. Microsoft has officially dedicated itself to speciousness.

Case in point: they are still using the empty people_ready campaign and somehow they've managed to make it worse. I recently saw this commercial on television and you've really gotta hand it to them; it manages to say absolutely nothing in such a hollow, annoying way!

Transcript (with commentary) below:

Microsoft: Everybody's talking about the economic tsunami; what does that mean to a surfing CEO?

Oh, I see what you did there! I'm waiting for the interview with the head honcho at KY Jelly... Everybody's been talking about the economic ass-fuck; what does that mean to a lubricant CEO?

Quicksilver: Umm, a tsunami in surfing is sort of a thrilling prospect, but a tsunami in business is, uh, kind of terrifying and you have to watch the, um, management of your assets very carefully.

Sarah Palinomics, my friends.

Microsoft: Uh-huh.

Quicksilver: Y'know, you have to do things at the speed of light these days to stay, um, ahead of the wolf pack.

Microsoft: Right.

Does anyone get the feeling that even Microsoft thinks this guy is an asshole?

Quicksilver: And without technology, we would be nowhere. It helps you to still, uh, rip it up.

Without technology, we would be nowhere.
Microsoft is a technology-based company...
Without Microsoft, we would be nowhere?

Is this the false syllogism that the viewing public is supposed to deduce from that statement? What a ringing—cue whimsical animation of a clanger banging a bell—endorsement.


Rip it up, Microsoft. Rip it up.
posted by defenestration at 12:35 PM on February 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, I've been using XP on various work and home desktops and laptops for around 10 hours a day for the past eight years. The last time I had a spontaneous reboot (or a BSOD) was when I had some bad memory about three years ago. My current Ubuntu machine is, if anything, slightly less stable.

If you see a BSOD on an XP or later system, it's often an indication of a serious hardware issue, although some flaky drivers will still do this.

My experience exactly. I suspect if Apple machines had to cope with the same hotch-potch of third-party hardware and software as the average Microsoft machine, we'd be making Apple jokes here instead.

If it runs the applications I need and doesn't break too easily, I don't mind whether I'm running XP, OSX or WTF.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:02 PM on February 14, 2009


To build an equivelant Dell pc, build one with a i7-965.

Got a link or model name? I'm not seeing any 8 core machines out yet.
posted by ryanrs at 1:23 PM on February 14, 2009


ryanr: Got a link or model name? I'm not seeing any 8 core machines out yet.

It took me less than two minutes to get onto Dell's site and customize a Precision T7400 with dual quad core processors. Some of them have a FSB of 1600 mhz, and 4 gb of ram is an option. I don't know for sure if it meets your PCIe requirements, but it does offer dual video cards, so I suspect the two 16x slots are there; you'll have to see if it has the two 4x slots as well.

The processors aren't i7s, but I think his suggestion was to use one i7 as a substitute for two slower processors (which may or may not work depending on what you do.)
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:43 PM on February 14, 2009


I thought Osmanthus was hinting at an 8 core (or two quad core) i7-based machine. I hadn't seen such a system available and I was curious to know more.

I am already familiar with the Dell T7400. It's not ideal for us with regard to expandability, but it's close. That and its $700 price premium over the Mac Pro takes it out of the running.
posted by ryanrs at 2:43 PM on February 14, 2009


I suspect if Apple machines had to cope with the same hotch-potch of third-party hardware and software as the average Microsoft machine, we'd be making Apple jokes here instead.

My Macs (home and work) run nothing but a hodge-podge of third-party software. That's one thing that did not change when I moved from XP to OS X.

Driver issues are undoubtedly the most common reason for an OS to crash. This is why Microsoft has a certification program. When using certified hardware, one should be able to expect one's system to be stable.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:54 PM on February 14, 2009


> 4) The Windows Genuine Advantage team will run storefront security, assuming everybody is a thief until they can prove otherwise.

So it'll be just like Fry's, then?
posted by FfejL at 6:17 PM on February 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Every time I think Microsoft can't get any more out-of-touch or more tone-deaf they surprise me.
posted by odinsdream at 7:29 PM on February 14, 2009


Retail space is very hard to make money in, Apple does amazingly well because they encourage customer interaction and lingering, which will bring in more money. And it works for them because the core items they sell in the stores they control end to end. I can see Microsoft having problems because they can't really sell the entire experience.

I want to setup a home network that will let me download movies, watch them on my desktop, a portable device and my television:

At the Apple store that is:
Airport (express/extreme/time capsule)
iMac/MacBook/MacBook Pro/Mac Pro
iPod(Phone/Touch/Classic)
AppleTV

If your house isn't a faraday cage, you wont even need a network cable except for the one to go from the airport to your modem. If you want to buy a movie to watch on all the devices, you just have to setup your iTunes account, and order away. When you buy it from the AppleTV, it will send a copy to your iMac also, and when you next sync your iPod Touch or iPhone, it will be copied over if you haven't finished watching it, oh and we will remember where you left off when you stopped watching it on the AppleTV (this is the default, i just plugged everything in and started clicking behavior for all of these devices).

At the microsoft store:
Well, you can pick from this wide and varied selection of routers, each with their own benefits depending on if you are a gamer or a home user, or want an LCD to show you the throughput of your network.
They probably can't sell you a PC because one of their many PC resellers will probably throw a fit for not being showcased in the store
Here is a Zune, it comes in Brown.
Here you can buy a windows media server (well maybe not, but we can demo one for you, and you can buy one from one of the above PC resellers that will not be in anyway configured as well or completely as the model we have in the store) or an xbox 360. But if you want to buy stuff and movies on your 360, you can't actually use your credit card directly. First you have to buy MS Points, then you can spend them to buy stuff on the xbox360 store.

Now one of these options can appeal to gear heads, the other to everyone else. This is why the Apple Store works. You can go in there and see the whole Apple Thing™ and then walk out with just about everything you need knowing that it will most likely actually work. Now the Microsoft Store could possibly do that, only stocking merchandise and products that all play well together, even going as far to request specific configurations of the products, but how much do you want to bet the nightmare that would be for all of their certified vendors and resellers, again if they weren't featured.

Microsoft can do some pretty nifty things, but I just can't see what value having a retail store will have for them, since they do not sell many complete products or solutions.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:15 PM on February 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Microsoft can built a pretty good store around the XBox, which is both successful and cool, and they can get the Zune in there, which isn't awful. After that... it's not going to be very much fun.
posted by rokusan at 12:45 PM on February 15, 2009


The Windows Genuine Advantage team will run storefront security, assuming everybody is a thief until they can prove otherwise.

Well... the guy in charge is from Wal-Mart. Negotiating to be let out of the store with my own property is kind of a regular event, there.

At least I don't have to try to type one of those ridiculous 20-alphanumerics that seem to always be made of I's, 1's, O's, 0's, 8's and B's.
posted by rokusan at 12:50 PM on February 15, 2009


I'd let pretty much anyone from Apple pick out my clothes for the day. I don't think I'd let anyone from Microsoft do that.

...there is a large number of ex-Apple employees who work at Microsoft, particularly MSR.


Well no wonder.

I'd fire them too, if they showed up in those pants.
posted by rokusan at 2:43 PM on February 15, 2009


And the name of their new stores will be... Radio Shack!
posted by markkraft at 9:20 PM on February 15, 2009


Who the fuck goes to the mall anyway?
posted by furtive at 8:31 PM on February 16, 2009


I think they've already launched it, anyone has any information about them now?
posted by JohnnyL at 5:39 AM on February 27, 2009


« Older I'm not wearing hockey pads!   |   Add-Art: replace web ads with art Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post