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Apple exec slams Microsoft stores, netbooks

updated 05:55 pm EST, Tue February 23, 2010

Apple's Cook says MS afraid of retail commitment

Apple chief financial officer Tim Cook took shots at Microsoft's retail stores today in his presentation at Goldman-Sachs' Technology & Internet Conference. The executive indirectly accused Microsoft of being afraid to actually launch a real retail effort and said Apple's original plan in 2001 was a commitment to selling products to customers, not just a vehicle for an experience.

Apple retail is "not a pilot, not a test," Cook said, referring to Microsoft's decision to limit its initial plans to just one store each in Arizona and California.

Microsoft has always viewed its shops as trials and, in the past, has said it would pass on much of what it learned about PC and smartphone sales to other retailers to improve their own approaches. Most of the current Scottsdale and Mission Viejo designs nonetheless directly imitate Apple's aesthetic design and Genius Bar section.

He also used the question and answer session at the conference to jab netbooks, noting that he feels most people aren't actually interested in the experience, just the price. They're often disappointed with the end result and are likely to have a much better impression when they get to play with an iPad at a store.

"They got [a netbook] home and used it and went 'why did I buy this?" Cook claimed. "When somebody looks at iPad and compares it to a netbook, I find it hard to believe that people are going to [continue to] buy netbooks. Not everyone will make the comparison so I'm not suggesting that."

At separate points, the CFO further contrasted Apple's overall practices against Microsoft's. He reiterated that it's an "ingrained" part of Apple's culture to resist expanding into other categories simply to make itself bigger, as many others do. Everything Apple makes could likely fit at one of the tables at the Goldman-Sachs meeting, he said.

Software was also treated as a key differentiator. Since Mac OS X can scale down to devices as small as Apple TV or iPhone, Apple can develop new products faster than companies that are "geographically north," Cook said in a dig at his Redmond, Washington-based rival.

The argument is at least partly valid as Microsoft has often had to develop almost entirely different platforms for both desktop and mobile, with only a handful of similarities linking the two. Tablets like the HP slate are virtually required to use a stock version of Windows 7 as Windows Mobile, and now Windows Phone, aren't optimized for more than smartphone-sized displays.

Microsoft's Scottsdale store on opening day in October

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just as busy

    I'm sure, no quite positive that the Microsoft Store is as busy as ever today. Not just at grand opening, but today right now. It's probably packed with wall to wall buyers enjoying that unique Microsoft experience.

  1. davesmall

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tim Cook is COO not CFO

    Tim Cook is not Apple's Chief Financial Officer. He's the Chief Operating Officer. He's the guy who runs the day to day operations of the company and is widely considered as the number two guy after Steve Jobs.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I wonder if a lot of people buy

    computers from the Microsoft Store.

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Gateway stores

    I still remember when the Apple store was a rumor and everyone poopooed it, comparing it to Gateway's miserable failure of Gateway Country Stores, the store where you could put down a credit card and walk out with NOTHING!

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Haha Tim Cook about netbooks. I'm sure the iPad will spawn some incredible apps, I'd posit even revolutionary UI apps and can't wait to see what becomes of it.

    BUT! I use my netbook as a convenient travel companion for, among other things, remote working or listening to music on friends' tumblrs or hypemachine and of course the occasional Flash video, things that won't work on the iPad. In my travels with just my iPhone, I've discovered a lot of restaurants and museums use Flash extensively so the iPad wouldn't be at all appropriate for my needs.

    I would love to love the iPad, but it's not a computer replacement and Apple needs to be careful in selling it as such.

  1. Rezzz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Netbook = Toy

    Don't waste your time. Not even for your teenager. Unless the deciding factor is price and price alone. The screens are too small for the elderly. The features too limitted for young people. Don't even bother showing up for a meeting with one of these. I'll be out the door. If you want a mobile computing device, buy one. Either a 15" laptop or a handheld (iPhone, Blackberry, iPad).

  1. CmdrGampu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Netbook > Toy

    Let me get this straight. Like so many other people before you, you say a netbook's 10" screen is too small. And then you turn around and say "buy an iPad instead," which coincidentally happens to have a 10" screen. What's wrong with this picture? I use my netbook (running OS X) every workday, running everything from FTP clients to Network Utility to Acrobat Pro to Microsoft Word and everything in between. Then I dual-boot to Windows 7 when I need Microsoft Access and a couple of other apps with no OS X versions or alternatives. I've hooked up hard drives using USB to SATA cables to troubleshoot them. It's always the people who've never actually used one who say they're useless.

  1. jahbadaboo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Netbook + OS X = Amazing

    I bought a Netbook in December because I knew I would use it for more than casual web browsing. I also don't like Windows because I have used OS X for the past 6 years and I have grown fond of the dictionary in OS X. I am a Japanese Major and the best way I found to search for meanings is use the dictionary since it has most of the meanings I am looking for. I also use a program called Anki which is a Flash card program to make Japanese Flash Cards.

    I have a 15" MacBook Pro that I used to use but since the battery can't keep a charge for more than an hour or two I needed something that would last 7+ Hours and I can take it around anywhere without it feeling like I am carrying a tank in my bag. I could have went with a Macbook air but it costs $1800+ and I would feel ripped off if I would have to buy a Macbook Air on top of my Pro.

    So I bought an EEEPC for $300 and wiped the hard drive clean and installed OS X, which includes the precious dictionary as well as an ALL IMPORTANT PHYSCIAL KEYBOARD so I can type my Flash Cards in a quick manner. For those that complain the screen is too small, I disagree. It is small but it’s more than legible and I know this because Kanji (Japanese Characters) are made up of even smaller pictographs so when I make flash cards I have to make sure I pick the right Kanji. Sure I had to go a lot of troubleshooting to get OS X to work on my Hackintosh but that is because Apple doesn’t offer a viable alternative. (Macbook Air is not a netbook) So you do what you gotta do.

    If you want to touch up documents, make flash cards, or do basic computer functions you need a device with an OS and a keyboard and that’s why I stand by Netbook with OS X.

  1. martinX

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPad not a computer

    The iPad is not a computer. It is not a computer replacement. However, many netbook buyers don't need computers, they need something that will let them read email and other online activities. Therefore, an iPad will suit them perfectly. If you have a netbook and it works for what you want to do, great. I think Apple is onto something here, though.

  1. charlituna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    lets not forget about the dancing thieves

    they love the Microsoft stores. all that spontaneous fun makes it easy for them to lift stuff.

    seriously. check the babe in the white shirt at about 2 minutes in. i suggest hitting mute cause the audio is beyond lame.

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