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11/1/2012
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Microsoft Stores: Secret Is 'Apple Location, Apple Location, Apple Location'

Looking for a Microsoft Store? Go to an Apple Store and look around. A survey of store locations shows that Microsoft is purposefully locating its stores as close as possible to Apple's.

This week, I went to the Stanford Shopping Center and noticed how close the Microsoft and Apple stores were in design — and physical proximity.

Check it out:

In the clear glass window, Windows 8 was advertised. Even the Microsoft logo on top of the store resembled the Apple store's.

The first thing I noticed when I entered the Microsoft store was Surface, the new hybrid PC-tablet. There were also ultrabooks on the table on the left, along with other Microsoft products. It looked way too much like the Apple store, but there were no iPads or iPhones or Macbooks in sight. It felt a little strange to be honest. Much like the iPad Mini is on the clear glass walls of the Apple store, Microsoft used its latest products to lure in customers and keep them in there, hoping that by allowing them to touch the items, they'd buy them in the store.

This closeness is no coincidence. It's part of the retail game.

All Microsoft Stores are listed here.

All the Apple stores are listed here.

If you are undecided, there are several states where Microsoft stores are located conveniently close to Apple stores, usually in the same shopping center. But don't wait too long — many of the Microsoft stores are temporary seasonal stores open only for the holidays.

California:

  • Costa Mesa, South Coast Plaza
  • Glendale, Glendale Galleria
  • Mission Viejo, The Shops at Mission Viejo
  • Palo Alto, Stanford Shopping Center
  • San Diego, Fashion Valley Mall
  • San Francisco, San Francisco Centre, 845 Market St., which is close to Apple's One Stockton Street location.

Colorado:

  • Denver, Cherry Creek Mall
  • Lone Tree, Park Meadow Mall

Connecticut:

  • Danbury, Danbury Fair Mall
  • Farmington, Westfarms

Delaware:

  • Newark, Christiana Mall

Florida:

  • Aventura, Aventure Mall
  • Miami, Dadeland Mall
  • Orlando, The Florida Mall

Georgia:

  • Atlanta, Lenox Square Mall
  • Atlanta, Perimeter Mall

Illinois:

  • Oak Brook, Oakbrook Center

Maryland:

  • Bethesda, Montgomery
  • Columbia, Mall in Columbia

Massachusetts:

  • Braintree, South Shore Plaza
  • Natick, Natick Collection

Minnesota:

  • Bloomington, Mall of America

Las Vegas:

  • Las Vegas, Fashion Show

New Hampshire:

  • Salem, Rockingham Park

New Jersey:

  • New Jersey, Bridgewater Commons
  • Freehold, Freehold Raceway Mall
  • Paramus, Garden State Plaza

New York:

  • Garden City, Roosevelt Field
  • Huntington Station, Walk Whitman Shops
  • Time Warner Center, The Shops at Columbus Circle, which is near Apple's Fifth Avenue store.
  • White Plains, The Westchester

North Carolina:

  • Charlotte, SouthPark
  • Durham, Southpoint

Oklahoma:

  • Oklahoma City, Penn Square Mall
  • Tulsa, Woodland Hills

Pennsylvania:

  • Pittsburgh, Ross Park

Tennessee:

  • Nashville, Mall at Green Hills

Texas:

  • Austin, The Domain
  • Frisco, Stonebriar
  • Houston, Houston Galleria
  • San Antonio, North Star
  • The Woodlands, The Woodlands

Virginia:

  • Arlington, The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City

Washington:

  • Bellevue, Bellevue Square Mall
  • Seattle, University Village

Larry Seltzer, editor of BYTE, lives in New Jersey. He looked up stores near him. There are two permanent Microsoft stores in New Jersey, one in Bridgewater Commons and the other at the Freehold Raceway Mall. In Freehold the stores are very close. The Bridgewater's appear to be in adjacent "zones" of the mall.

It's an old retail practice. It's why you so often see a Lowe's so close to a Home Depot, why fast food restaurants so often cluster together. It tends to work better for all of them, although one supposes that in this case it works better for Microsoft than for Apple.

Clearly Microsoft seeks out locations very close to Apple stores.This also explains why there are no permanent Microsoft stores in Manhattan yet. They just haven't found the right real estate close enough to one of the three Apple stores.The one in Grand Central they'll never be able to do, although perhaps they could do one in Penn Station. The one on 5th Avenue near Central Park South is a real possibility.

I can't blame Microsoft for following Apple's retail strategy. Even Tesla set up shops modeled after Apple's design.

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