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Microsoft Store Opens in Mission Viejo

Microsoft debuted its second retail store at The Shops in Mission Viejo; since I live a skip and jump away, I thought I'd drop in there to see what all the commotion was about. Apparently, the grand opening wasn't enough to rate the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, or even a Rolling Stones tribute band; instead, we got Justin Bieber (Taylor Swift was at the Scottsdale retail opening last week). Maybe the message here is that the Stones are XP old and Windows 7 is younger, hipper.

To get myself prepared, I did read some stories about the store opening in the local paper. What I learned was that Justin is bigger than I thought, and that there were going to be hundreds of people there. I had to jump in the car to make the 45 minute trip out there before the grand opening within the hour. Yikes!

I got there in the nick of time, after battling traffic and parking. As I entered the mall, I could already hear the commotion and saw what looked like throngs of kids and geeks. I didn't have to ask for directions to the store. I was already in the thick of it within 20 steps of the door.

Microsoft COO Kevin Turner made a few announcements and then cut the ribbon. As the drape dropped from the front of the store, it was instant madness, mainly from the shrill screaming of teenage girls. And Justin wasn't going to show until later that evening. I did manage to talk to one guy in line -- just one -- who said he was a consultant who was impressed with Windows 7 that he's already running it. He wanted to find out what a Microsoft retail experience was like and to see if the store would have Apple's Genius Bar equivalent. I don't think he was going to find out, sorry to say. The majority of customers that morning were there for something other than OS purchases and they were being shuttled in and then back out after they got their goody bags.

Like anything Microsoft does, the marketing machine in overdrive knows how to throw a party. I'll come back in a month, on a Saturday afternoon, for a more realistic picture of Microsoft retail. For now, some pics of the craziness:

 (More pics here. )

On a side note: I love how blogosphere commenters are lambasting Justin Bieber. I confess that I don't know much about him and probably not the target demo for his music, but far be it for me to mock the guy, who is far more talented than I am. Well, okay -- he's talented, I'm not.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 10/29/2009 at 11:59 AM

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