Microsoft learns from Apple store real estate guru
After pulling a page from Apple’s playbook with its plan to launch its own chain of stores this fall, Microsoft is calling on the expertise of one of the players who made its rival’s stores such a big hit.
The world’s biggest software company confirmed on Tuesday that it has hired former Apple exec George Blankenship as a consultant to advise on real estate, as it puts together its retail strategy.
Microsoft hasn’t said much about the stores since announcing them in February, but its chief operating officer last week came out with guns blazing, saying: “We’re going to have some retail stores opened up right next door to Apple stores this fall. Stay tuned.”
Blankenship oversaw real estate procurement at Apple in the early years of the company’s push into retailing. The Mac and iPhone maker opened its first store in 2001, and now has more than 200 locations around the world. Blankenship also spent more than a decade at Gap, where he worked on store location and strategy for the clothing retailer.
It’s still a mystery what Microsoft’s stores will look like, but the company’s “Retail Experience Center” at its Redmond, Washington headquarters might hold a few clues: