Microsoft’s plans to open retail outlets in the US have been shrugged off by the vendor’s local retailers and resellers.
Last week, the software giant appointed David Potter as its corporate vice-president of retail stores, and announced it will open a number of branded retail outlets across the US.
At time of publication, Microsoft could not confirm whether there were plans to expand the plan to Australia.
Harvey Norman general manager of computers and communications, Luke Naish, said he didn’t think the giant would develop retail outlets locally.
“It wouldn’t make a lot of sense, unless it was designed as a marketing or PR showcase,” Naish said. “The branded store seems to be designed as a counter to Apple, but Apple is a different business, and retail is a challenging industry at the best of times.
“All the major retail outlets in Australia, such as Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi, have already carved out strong niches. It would take a lot of energy to set up a new retail presence.”
Quantum Business Technology managing director, Tony Banks, said it would be highly unlikely for Microsoft to sell any business applications through retail stores.
“I’m unaware of the Apple business model, but Microsoft lives on its partner model,” Banks said. “While resellers of Office – and anything else a user or small business would be able to install themselves – might be affected, the business side for Microsoft is very much partner driven.”
Axxis Technology managing director, Matthew Dickerson, was likewise unconcerned with the effect that a Microsoft retail outlet would have on resellers.
“Most Microsoft resellers would make the majority of business through value-adding,” Dickerson said. “A Microsoft store would chew away at the fringes of a reseller’s business, but nothing substantial – the stores would be more competing with mass retailers.”