You may as well call it The Windows 7 Store.
According to a presentation leaked to Gizmodo, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) forthcoming retail shops will be designed to highlight the new OS and "PCTV," otherwise known as Windows Media Center. Look for the Xbox in the back, right near the (ahem) "Answers Bar," apparently Mr. Softy's version of the "Genius Bar" common to Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) retail stores.
So much for my advice that Microsoft team with Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) to create a comprehensive entertainment center.
PCTV is the shocker here. Much like the failed Apple TV, Microsoft's Media Center PC has done little to sway users away from TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) or EchoStar's (Nasdaq: SATS) Slingbox.
That's what makes this concept so unimpressive. Why treat the streaming-savvy Xbox 360 as a bit player here, Microsoft? It makes no sense, especially if you want to look good next to Apple and get moms to pay up for birthday parties at your stores. (Yes, that is part of the plan.)
But don't tell Gizmodo that.
"We've been wondering what the Microsoft's retail shops are going to be like. Well, according to a Powerpoint presentation leaked to us, it's going to make the Apple Store look downright boring," wrote Gizmodo's Matt Buchanan on Friday.
Why? Because Microsoft will have a giant screen showing off its various wares encircling customers as they browse? Come on. Kids aren't going to care about the latest Windows 7 PC. They want gadgets and games. They want to play the next Halo.
For its part, Microsoft told Gizmodo through one of its PR agents that the presentation isn't reflective of a complete strategy but rather one of its "early prototypes." Fine. Just don't make the final design a Windows store, Microsoft. We've already got one of those -- it's called Best Buy (NYSE: BBY).
Copyright 2009 by United Press International.