Microsoft plans to follow in the footsteps of rival Apple by opening its own retail stores. The company has hired a former, 25-year Wal-Mart veteran to head up the project, which aims “to create deeper engagement with consumers.” But the move has many industry watchers scratching their heads. The company is moving ahead at a time when other computer stores, like Circuit City, are going bust. And Microsoft risks drawing the ire of existing retail partners, like Best Buy. It’s a plan loaded with risk. But perhaps the biggest challenge is that Microsoft doesn’t have the kind of
sleekly-designed hardware that’s made Apple’s stores so appealing. Would a store full of Zunes really draw a crowd?