Can Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Follow the Apple Store Model? Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Embodied in that insight is a point that I think most reviewers largely overlook: The device is arguably more important as an idea than as a piece of hardware. It should come as no surprise that a piece of equipment that’s trying to take the place of two other devices won’t be quite as good at the tasks that either perform — the specialized versions aren’t constrained by needing to serve two purposes. That doesn’t mean, however, that being the first to market with a new concept isn’t exactly where Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) — and Microsoft investors — want to be.

Take, for example, the portable GPS device. While a standalone version almost certainly works better and is easier to use than the version embedded in your smartphone, the GPS function has become so crucial to a smartphone that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s misstep led to “Mapgate.” Recognizing that the map feature is important for more than simple navigation, the point is that even with reduced functionality, the feature is going strong. I believe the same can be applied to the hybrid idea of a laptop-tablet.

Why stores matter
Given the newness of the idea, therefore, it is even more critical that Microsoft provide customers with a tangible experience to evaluate its concept. Particularly at the $899 to $999 (and up) price points, you’re going to want to try it out before spending that kind of money. The online shopper is more likely to opt for something cheaper in case the reality doesn’t live up to the hype. And as Windows 8 is an important departure from previous iterations of the OS, giving people a place to be educated could make a real difference. Microsoft’s efforts in this department are a great sign, and while they are unlikely to perfectly duplicate the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Store, they provide a positive catalyst to buy the stock.

The article Can Microsoft Follow the Apple Store Model? originally appeared on and is written by Doug Ehrman.

Fool contributor Doug Ehrman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and owns shares of Apple and Microsoft.

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