Molecular Modeling By Microsoft (or Microsoft Cloning)

This isn’t copying. It’s identity theft.

I honestly don’t know how the people responsible can look at themselves in the mirror each morning. Surely there are other ways to get into retail without copying every detail from the people you’re constantly accused of copying in the first place.

Nice article on the Microsoft stores.

Posted via web from The Small Wave.

They Are Coming…

Ms Store

Only two stores at first, but one of them happens to be at the mall of my very own Apple Store. In fact, I’m posting from there now. Not sure when the Microsoft Store opens.

By the way, I risked my life taking this photo. OK, not really, but when I was done (I took three shots) a security guard caught up with me telling me this was a no no. He wasn’t snotty, in fact he was cool, but it’s nuts how paranoid we’re getting about people taking pictures any more.

Apple vs. Microsoft OS Family Packs: Microsoft Loses

As more and more households have multiple PCs, the idea of a “family pack” (i.e., a piece of software with multiple licenses for use) makes a lot of sense. With Apple and Microsoft set to release new versions of their respective operating systems this fall (Snow Leopard in September, Windows 7 on October 22), it’s interesting to look at the family pack that will be available for each.


Microsoft finally ended the rumors and speculation of a Windows 7 Family Pack, announcing that there would indeed be such a product:

The Windows 7 Family Pack will be available starting on October 22nd until supplies last here in the US and other select markets. In the US, the price for the Windows 7 Family Pack will be $149.99 for 3 Windows 7 Home Premium licenses.

It’s not that paying $150 for three licenses is a bad deal, it’s just that the paragraph above pretty much constitutes the entire announcement, and that’s bad because:

  • Home Premium. Where is the Family Pack for Professional? What about Ultimate? Sadly, there is no such thing. Why isn’t Microsoft bundling the other editions in similar “family friendly” offerings?
  • Until supplies last. Huh? This is a software product on disc that comes with a three-user license, there are no “supplies” to run out. The only thing that can run out is Microsoft’s desire to provide this value to the consumer.

So, Microsoft will punish those who desire Professional or Ultimate by requiring full licenses even if they want to run it on all the PCs in the house. It’s practically an engraved invitation to pirate the software.

Further, after some as-yet-unnamed amount of time passes, the Home Premium deal will be withdrawn. Is this just a maneuver to juice up early sales for PR purposes, and once they can report big numbers of licenses sold they’ll just end the deal?


By contrast, Apple’s upcoming Snow Leopard will be sold in family packs for $49 with five licenses. This is a much better deal than Microsoft’s in many ways:

  • Obviously, $50 for five license is a much better deal than $150 for three.
  • Unlike Microsoft, Apple doesn’t mess with crippled editions. Their family pack will consist of the full (“Ultimate”, to use Microsoft’s term) version of Snow Leopard.
  • There is no expiration date on availability.

I think it was a great move for Microsoft to offer a family pack for Windows 7, but I believe they’re misguided to limit it to just the “cheap” edition, and even then to make the offer short-term.

Microsoft Retail Stores: Do They Need To Copy Apple?


From an article by Mary Jo Foley:

Microsoft is planning to open the first of its planned retail stores next to existing Apple stores this fall.

While it’s easy to criticize the move, it has its advantages:

  • Apple’s already done the homework, and proved these locations will draw foot traffic for this type of store.
  • Microsoft can immediately imply they’re “worthy” of selling to the same crowd Apple does by setting up shop in the same area.
  • Their stores will be located near shoppers already out looking at electronics.

There are some bad things about it, though:

  • It’s an obvious example of Microsoft following Apple, not leading the industry or thinking for themselves.
  • Being close to Apple will invite comparisons they could easily lose.

I’m not sure if the pros outweigh the cons.

Meanwhile, I’m not clear what Microsoft plans to sell in these stores? If they choose to stock it will “Apple-like” items such as upscale PCs, Zune players, etc. then they can’t tout how they’re so much cheaper than Macs. But if they stock it with “Best Buy-like” cheap PCs then it’ll look like… a Best Buy.

Ultimately, I really don’t see this as a question of location, but rather one of why the heck Microsoft is opening stores in the first place. Having made the decision, however, and with so many electronics chains in trouble, perhaps opening yet another one without nodding to Apple’s brilliance in this area would be even dumber than blatantly copying it.

The Apple Retail Experience

Jason Kelly at Seeking Alpha writes a great article about the Apple retail experience that accompanied his switch to the Mac after 20+ years as a PC user.

Just a couple of highlights from the article:

Such a store shows a great deal of confidence in the products, which gives me confidence as a buyer. I’m not being rushed out the door with a flimsy piece of paper saying I have tech support for a year if I need it — just call this number in India, but don’t under any circumstances bother us here — but am instead given all the time and freedom to arrive at about the only conclusion anybody can: I want one.

When my tally was finished, he added up the retail prices and then reduced each of them in front of me to get me a greater than 10% discount. Mind you, this was after I’d agreed to buy, so it was just a smart form of customer service. What a way to leave me even happier. They didn’t entice me with lowball prices. They sold me on quality products, and then offered me savings as a form of thanks for the business. Very classy.

You really should read the whole thing. It’s an excellent example of Apple excelling in something that can’t be just chalked up to great marketing or alleged “fanbois” buying anything with the Apple logo. If nothing else, perhaps it shows how these so-called fanbois are created in the first place.