As We See It

Comparison shopping: The Apple store vs. The Microsoft store

Tech battles aren’t confined to Silicon Valley. Last Thursday, Microsoft threw open the doors of its first retail location in Las Vegas, a shiny storefront on the ground level of Fashion Show Mall. Among its neighbors is a rival Apple Store just down the hall. We stopped by both to see how the brands’ brick-and-mortars compare.

    • The Space

      Microsoft: Airy and energetic with plenty of—take that, Apple!—color. Instead of cash registers at the back, a massive screen displays a game of Street Fighter between two customers.

      Apple: Narrow, cramped and almost hidden on the mall’s upper level. Good thing it’s moving into prime first-floor real estate soon.

    • The Soundtrack

      Microsoft: Upbeat coffee shop music and the steady hum of conversation.

      Apple: Music-free, with a whine of conversation verging on a roar.

    • The Fake Computer Data

      Microsoft: An email chain for Lucy’s 10th birthday party! Ben has finals and can’t come. Fake Ben is lame.

      Apple: Vacation photos! Someone went to New Zealand and all they saw were pretty mountains and boys wearing backpacks.

    • The Accessories

      Microsoft: Tablet cases, Xbox games, colored keyboards and toys from something called Skylanders Giants.

      Apple: Blood pressure monitors, Fit Bit sports bands, an app-controlled light bulb and a basketball that documents your drive to the hoop.

    • The Crowd

      Microsoft: International browsers. Does anyone on staff speak Portuguese? Of course.

      Apple: Decidedly stressed. Something is broken and they don’t call this the Genius Bar for nothing, right?

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