updated 12:15 pm EDT, Tue July 21, 2009
Ex-Apple VP with MS retail
A former Apple executive is now playing a crucial role in Microsoft's fledgling retail efforts, reports say. George Blankenship is presently serving as a consultant to Microsoft, though the company has declined to say what help it is seeking. While at Apple, Blankenship served as the vice president of real estate.
The executive's primary contribution, beginning in 2001, was to choose Apple Store locations based on unusual criteria. Instead of favoring technology districts, or places with lower rent, Blankenship gravitated towards areas with greater foot traffic, particularly high-rent shopping districts. The strategy was a dangerous one, dependent on a steady stream of revenue to compensate for expenses; Apple has so far succeeded at retail however, and now runs hundreds of outlets worldwide.
Microsoft may be attempting to replicate this philosophy, and it has publicly admitted that many of its stores will be located next to Apple's. Inside shops the company is taking a different approach, eschewing Apple's layout in lieu of an original one. The intent is believed to be promoting Microsoft brands, rather than accumulating sales, which are already handled by large chains of third-party vendors.