At University Village in Seattle, there’s a Microsoft store right across from an Apple Store (^1), dun, dun, dun, let the showdown begin.
1st, Microsoft totally ripped off Apple’s look for their stores. Yes, Apple has a nice look, is it the only look? Microsoft, the big dog, w/ billions, billions, billions in cash, said F it, when you can’t beat them, join them.
2nd, Microsoft totally “shit the bed” (the words from a designer) with their recent logo update last year. Your update for Microsoft for 2013    is to give a twist to the Windows logo when you’re trying to compete with Apple on all
fronts (way beyond a nearly 3 decade old operating system).
3rd, Even in Microsoft’s backyard, the Apple store was packed with customers, people coming in and emptying their wallets left and right buying products. I swear I saw a blue-collar guy buying an iPad with some lunch-money looking cash in less than 5 minutes from entering the store. The staff was young, helpful, non-pushy, clean – yet still ultra hip looking. (Note, the Bellevue stores are the same way, and Microsoft could/should practically own Bellevue)
4th, after spending some time playing with the iPad Mini, I had to talk myself out of buying it (I’m still deciding my needs and investigating my options).
5th, Walking into the Microsoft store – and still telling myself how similar the style will be – I’m still blown away by how much Microsoft stole every design element from Apple.
6th The MS stores look really nice, but not when you compare them to Apple.
6 A) Employees wear very similar, very similar, basically the exact same t-shirts, today they were wearing blue t-shirts. I’ve
seen Apple’s employees wear blue t-shirts many times.
6 B) It seems the MS employees are the Apple rejects, even though they were very nice and helpful. I could easily tell they lacked stage presence. Let’s just say, I’ve partied with many of Apple employees, but for some reason, I’ve never partied with MS (retail) employees.
6 C) Nothing wrong with the traits in 6B (aka Geeky), but only when you try to be something you’re not.
7) The number of different products in MS stores is nauseating. What’s the difference b/w a Sony and an Asus? I left the MS store trying to remember why I wanted to visit in the first place.
8) My conclusion, when it comes to the experience of the 2 stores and the companies in general, it seems that Microsoft is not as detail oriented as Steve Jobs, I mean Apple. When I played around with the Surface, I don’t think they had a demo version like the iDevices. Or at least, not as effective. For instance, in my short time w/ the Surface (10-15 mins) I saw multiple shitty images (images not in focus, not the right resolution, etc.). Does anyone else think the backing of the “type” Surface keyboard looks cheap?
9) When it comes to the products of the 2 companies, it seems both can make good products, but it seems PCs (products running on Windows) don’t last as long as Apples do. Exhibit A is my 3 year old Dell laptop, it ran great for about 1 year, now the machine “freezes” constantly when doing simple tasks as browsing the web. I’m kind of used to it, but still super annoying.
10) Why the hell not be different, Microsoft? If your rival claims the color white, why not claim highly fashionable, edgy, etc. color black? Why not this bold logo design? http://www.brandingmagazine.com/2012/08/29/microsoft-branding-alternative/
11) With that said, I’m still bullish on the Surface (I like my MS Office, a physical keyboard, and the idea of replacing my laptop with an all in 1, super mobile device). Anyone want to sell their 64GB RT version to me?
Round 1, TKO by Apple. Round 2?