I’ve been pondering Joe Wilcox’s blogpost about his visit to the Borgstore. (Nice graphic, Brinke, I never would have guessed Flanders as a Borg supporter). The one thing that sticks out is that all the personnel look like the customers –
regular people – whereas, when you enter
an Apple Store and you’re not only struck by all the oh wow gee magical wunnerful everything,
you’re also taken by the employees. I think that’s the main difference -
except also that there’s no iPods, Macbooks, MacMinis, MacPros, iPhones, iTouches, etc., on display. And since the Borg’s appeal is the great unwashed, that market segment
probably will gravitate towards Microsoft Stores in great numbers, but only to Circuit City’s and other electronic retail establishment’s detriment, but not Apple’s, as Apple has a mystique and ineffable sense gee whiz wonderment and coolness about it that you can’t kill. It’ll be the Porsche show room next to the Ford car lot, essentially.
And don’t be surprised if in the future Redmond does buy a major PC or electronics hardware supplier or two to make Microsoft machines to sell in its outlets – which is fine – they’ll be gauche, clumsy, garish, cheap and uncool - but people will buy it all the same, because they don’t know any better.
Yet, Microsoft still doesn’t get it. Its competition isn’t Apple and hasn’t been for years (who knows, maybe they know that, they just want some of that recent Apple success to rub off). While Redmond thinks it’s having one last hurrah right now, Google will ultimately be the game changer for a lot of people in this industry. Windows 7 and Office will be probably the last time OEMs accept resignedly what Redmond has to offer. Businesses will rethink about what they want in their back end and on the desktop. Oracle might be the one company who can stand up to what’s about to happen – or not. Larry ain’t no spring chicken; Benioff won’t be dazzling bullshitting anybody with his regurgitated half-assed take on CRM and cloud services for long, either.
These Borg Boutiques will pop up like KrispyKremes and Subways outlets for five years and then WHAM, the bottom will fall out, they’ll have to close three quarters of ‘em and consolidate.