Microsoft opened its second retail store in Mission Viejo, Calif., last Thursday. It drew quite a crowd — some 1,000 people, according to the Orange County Register, via CNET — in part because Microsoft was giving away concert tickets to those at the front of the line.
Like its sibling in Scottsdale, Ariz., it looks a lot like Apple’s retail stores — big, clean tables with computers set out for people to use, with lots of uncluttered floor space for people to walk around. (Plus Xbox stuff, and multi-touch Microsoft Surface tables for people to use.)
We scoured Twitter for customers’ photos and instant reactions. The vast majority were positive — people seemed to like the atmosphere — and we didn’t see any major complaints.
But many people also called out Microsoft — which has a reputation for stealing ideas from Apple — for copying the Apple Store retail idea almost entirely.
“It appears the Microsoft Store in Mission Viejo is dressed up as the Apple Store for Halloween,” said one person.
That’s not a bad thing, actually. The Apple Store has done well in large part because of its aesthetic. So Microsoft is smart to copy Apple, and not a dingy dump. It’s not like Microsoft should have tried to make an unattractive store that people would dislike.
Anyway, people will get over the “copycat” angle and get what they need out of the store — whether a new computer, tech support, or just a few minutes of free Internet access. So as long as the crowds continue — and Microsoft generates enough revenue out of the experiment — it looks like a good move for Redmond.