Thursday, January 13, 2011

Apple Store vs. Microsoft Store

All this week, I've been using my Microsoft Store bag (pictured above) to carry my lunches to work. On the way home today, as it sat proudly in the passenger seat, I got thinking about how much fun the Microsoft Store is. Then I started thinking; what's more fun, the Microsoft or the Apple store? I can hear the Micro-Nerds and Apple Die-Hards screaming at me now. I've taken three key elements that each of these stores possess, and broken them down to show who's better.

Fun Factor
When it comes to fun, Microsoft takes the prize! Apple has cool products, but when it comes to games, entertainment and group activities, they just suck. Microsoft on the other hand, has fun surface tables, Zunes linked to the massive Marketplace, a huge variety of electronics and of course, the Xbox! Apple stores are fun to gawk at, but we've all seen it before. It's an ipod. Whoohoo. It's an iPad...hurray? The computers...yup, that's a computer. Sure, it's a computer that never dies, but they all look the same. There's also very few group activities when you're at an Apple store. When you go to Microsoft, you're encouraged to play!

It's a dead tie for customer service when it comes to these two stores. Both seem to have the same model of approaching every customer and having an expansive amount of knowledge about all their products. The only difference (which in a way makes Microsoft a little better), is that Microsoft staff will encourage you to play with the products, and for as long as you want. When my family came to visit me for graduation, we stopped by the Microsoft store in Fashion Square and for a good hour (possibly two hours) we played with the new Xbox Kinect. The staff had just as much fun as we did. They even let us use my moms camcorder to record us playing with the Kinect. The product wasn't even on the market yet, so it wasn't like they guy was going to make a sale that day. We had more fun that day in the Microsoft store, than we've had at all the Apple Stores combined.

Here's where it gets tricky. Apple has fantastic products that have a quality you can't beat, but Microsoft has so many more products that are all-together WAY more fun to play with. As cool as the Microsoft store is though, the products are those of...well, Microsoft. So after a few weeks of a device being out in the public, it tends to get buggy and even die (with the exception of the Xbox). Here's an example: the Surface tables. I remember when the store first opened it had brand new Surface tables, and for those of you who don't know what these are, it's basically a table with an interactive touch screen instead of a regular table-top. They were quick, responsive and a blast to play with at first. But now, they're slow and barely recognize your figures when interacting with them. Another example: the gaming laptops they had on display were playing Starcraft III, then crashed. Right after the sales guy was explaining how the Alienware laptop was running full HD graphics on Starcraft (as we played the game) the laptop crashed...and wouldn't turn back on. #oops! These problems are rarely found in Apple Stores. 99% of the time, the products are running smooth and effectively. So Apple takes the prize for quality of products, while Microsoft takes the prize for the most fun products.

Microsoft Stores win as a more enjoyable store to visit with way cooler products than Apple stores (sorry Apple). Now, I'm not a huge Microsoft fan; I won't buy any other computer except a Mac, and all my mobile devices are Android. So I don't want anyone to the impression that I'm a super-fan of Microsoft. I'm only a fan of their entertainment products (Xbox) and their stores (which have great software and accessories that work on Macs too).


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