A few weeks ago, Instapaper creator Marco Arment described his poor shopping experience at the Microsoft Store, adding that the Surface tablet in particular was “partially for Microsoft’s world of denial.” On the contrary, tech pundit MG Siegler notes on TechCrunch that his personal experience at a Microsoft retail location was not as disappointing. Siegler purchased a new Surface tablet from a Microsoft kiosk at a shopping mall in downtown San Francisco, walking away with a generally positive impression.
“It’s a nice-looking kiosk. It looks like the type of kiosk Apple might do if they did kiosks. Lots and lots of solid, clean surfaces. Lots of illuminated glass. Lots of Surfaces sitting around for people to try,” writes Siegler. “Unlike most Microsoft Stores, this kiosk wasn’t right across from an Apple Store, but that’s only because there is no Apple Store in this mall. Instead, it’s outside a J.Crew, which is perhaps the next-best thing since J.Crew chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler is an Apple board member.”
[quote_right]“It’s a nice-looking kiosk. It looks like the type of kiosk Apple might do if they did kiosks. Lots and lots of solid, clean surfaces. Lots of illuminated glass. Lots of Surfaces sitting around for people to try.” — MG Siegler, TechCrunch[/quote_right]Sieger notes that it’s “weird” and “sort of creepy” how Microsoft has been attempting to mimic the Apple experience by referring to the Surface with adjectives such as “amazing,” “fantastic,” “great” and “cool.” (Editor’s note: don’t forget “magical,” Apple’s unofficial trademark). At the same time, Siegler adds that the kiosk employees were not overly annoying or trying to push a sale. In fact, the Microsoft employees were actually quite surprised when he agreed to purchase the tablet.
While his experience was generally positive overall, Siegler does touch upon some of the downfalls during his visit to the Microsoft kiosk. For starters, the software was performing rather poor on the Surface tablet when customers were performing certain tasks. Many customers also experienced difficulties when trying to type with the Touch Cover peripheral. Many found it easier to type on the Type Cover, but only one Surface display model had one of those keyboards.
“Just from a few minutes of demos, the software seemed fairly buggy,” Siegler claims. “The built-in social app kept hanging. Maps were very slow. People would remove the Touch Cover and rotate the screen but the software didn’t respond, so they would make an even bigger rotation gesture. This was obviously not an ideal demo experience.”
Microsoft Stores have welcomed over 15 million customers through their doors since the first retail location opened in Scottsdale, Arizona just over three years ago. Customers appreciate having all Microsoft technology in one location to view face-to-face, while the customer experience has generally been considered on par or better than at an Apple Store. An Apple Store and Microsoft Store might not be the same, but the bottom line should be that customers walk away happy. And it appears that was the case for Siegler.