Matthew Yglesias recently visited a local mall in Arlington, Virginia. There, he found a jam-packed Apple Store and an empty Microsoft Store. His conclusion:
Of course Microsoft operated for many years as a fantastic company without any retail stores at all, so it’s not as if the failure to build successful stores is the problem per se. The real issue is that there’s nothing wrong with the store. It’s a great place to shop. Much better than the Apple Store, really, because the Apple Store is crowded, and it’s a little hard to get an employee’s attention. At the Microsoft Store you get a very pleasant physical environment and a helpful staff. It’s just that nobody wants to buy their stuff.
It’s still a very profitable company thanks to its enormous strengths in the enterprise market. But enterprises are made of people. If nobody wants to buy Microsoft’s stuff, that will trickle up into the enterprise.
I’m sure the diehards are already attacking Yglesias and explaining the fallacy of his logic here. I’m sure those people think they’re right. The only problem: they’re not, Yglesias is. Time will prove it.
[via John Gruber]