The warning signs started to appear on Black Friday. A YouTube video comparing a Apple Store with an Microsoft Store on the most crazed shopping day of the year showed the former jam-packed, the latter sparsely populated with quiet shoppers. It dramatized Microsoft’s worst fear – that the company’s big bets on bold new products like Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the Surface tablet weren’t resonating early on with consumers. Not like Apple’s products.
After Microsoft defenders argued that the video comparison wasn’t accurate, a Wall Street analyst issued a note with more bad news. Piper Jaffray spent eight hours at the Mall of America’s Apple Store and the Microsoft store across the way. Traffic was nearly twice as heavy at the Apple Store, where shoppers bought 17 items an hour on average, 11 of them iPads. At Microsoft, they bought 3.5 items an hour – all but two of them were X-Box games.