10 Ways Microsoft's Retail Stores Will Differ From Apple Stores

microsoft to open retail store
Artwork: Chip Taylor
Microsoft announced plans to open retail stores, hoping to boost visibility of many of its products and its brand. The move seems to be an effort to mimic the success that Apple has had with its retail stores. The news is just too tempting not to have some fun with. So here are some yet-to-be-officially-revealed details about the Microsoft stores.

1) Instead of Apple's sheer walls of glass, Microsoft's stores will have brushed steel walls dotted with holes -- reminiscent of Windows security.

2) The store will have six different entrances: Starter, Basic, Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. While all six doors will lead into the same store, the Ultimate door requires a fee of $100 for no apparent reason.

3) Instead of a "Genius Bar" (as Apple provides) Microsoft will offer an Excuse Bar. It will be staffed by Microsofties trained in the art of evading questions, directing you to complicated and obscure fixes, and explaining it's a problem with the hardware -- not a software bug.

4) The Windows Genuine Advantage team will run storefront security, assuming everybody is a thief until they can prove otherwise.

5) Store hours are undetermined. At any given time the store mysteriously shuts down instantaneously for no apparent reason. (No word yet on what happens to customers inside).

6) Stores will be named Microsoft Live Retail Store with PC Services for Digital Lifestyle Enthusiasts.

7) Fashioned after Microsoft's User Account Control (UAC) in Vista, sales personnel will ask you whether you're positive you want to purchase something at least twice.

8) Xbox 360 section of the store will be organized in a ring -- which will inexplicably go red occasionally.

9) DreamWorks will design a scary in-store theme park ride called "blue screen of death."

10) Store emergency exits will be unlocked at all times so people can get in anytime they want even if the front doors are locked.

Do you know something we don't about the Microsoft stores? Please let us know in the comments.

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