retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Fast Company writes that Microsoft is following through on its promise to start opening retail stores – the first ones will open this fall, and the company says that at least some of them will be located next to or near Apple Stores.

Here’s how the magazine frames the Microsoft decision:

“Does the company which brought you the brown Zune … really think they've really got this architecture/retail/service thing whipped? It would be one thing if they wanted to experiment quietly, and start small - just like Apple did - so that they could work out the bugs. Instead, they're just offering themselves up for public humiliation.

“The designs of the store aren't public yet - but their recent “concept store” on the Redmond campus manages to look exactly like the love child of a Circuit City and a Walgreens.”
KC's View:
There’s an image that’ll haunt me.

But Fast Company also makes another point, one that is absolutely germane to virtually every kind of retailing…in fact, to every kind of business. (In fact, it is so important that I’m going to put it in italics and boldface.) It is a point that we’ve making here on MNB almost from the first day that we posted almost eight years ago.

Why is it that everyone competing with Apple chooses to compete on Apple's terms?

If you've got to beat Lance Armstrong at something and you get to choose the game, would you really roll up to his front door, pedaling your Huffy?

No. You'd pick a game that he's not good at. Duh.


Play the competition’s game, and inevitably you end up playing defense. And lose.

Play your game, and ignore the other guy’s rules, and you end up playing offense and stand a much better chance of winning, not to mention throwing the other guy off his stride.