Microsoft is planning to open retail stores “right next door to Apple” in the USA however the Company who have virtually ignored the retail market in Australia have refused to talk about local, rumours that they are set to crank up their retail and consumer presence in Australia.
A former Microsoft Australia executive said “Microsoft Australia has been more focused on the Enterprise market in Australia than the consumer market. They have Xbox 360 and a few keyboards and mice but that is really it. There has been no Media Centre marketing, no Zune and team to build up content relationships. They are relying on their relationship and shareholding with Ninemsn to deliver content to Windows 7”.
They added “Currently there is very little commitment to the consumer market however this could change as the US is starting to lose business share to Google while the consumer market is showing growth however I believe they have left it too late as the average consumer does not like Microsoft”.
A senior Sony Executive who use to work on XBox marketing said “Right now Microsoft is concentrating on selling to their existing XBox customer base in Australia. They do not have much of a consumer presence in Australia”.
Kevin Turner of Microsoft in the USA says Microsoft is “in the game for the long-term” and has hired a retail team.
Microsoft brought on a 25-year US Wal-Mart veteran in February to lead the effort, but has said little since. Turner was speaking to a gathering of technology partner companies in New Orleans.
Microsoft and Apple have been sparring for years. Microsoft’s Windows runs on most of the world’s PCs. Apple, which operates 250 stores worldwide, is venerated for its design sense.
Apple’s popular Mac vs. PC ads depict Windows as a self-righteous nerd; Microsoft has struck back with ads that push PCs’ lower prices however Apple has threatened to sue claiming that the Microsoft advertising is misleading.