When Apple needs to come up with a hot new product, it turns to CEO Steve Jobs, who is said to micromanage everything from the color of the product’s box to how overpriced it should be. And, when Microsoft needs to go after the next big thing, the company turns to … Steve Jobs. At least that seems to be the idea behind Microsoft’s latest plan, which involves poaching managers from Apple’s retail stores.
According to recent reports, Microsoft is actively trying to convince Apple Store managers to come over to the dark side, offering them raises, moving expenses and other perks. After joining up, the new ‘softies are expected to assimilate as many of their former colleagues as possible. According to Apple-watcher Jim Dalrymple:
Once hired, the ex-Apple employees are then contacting some of the top sales people in the Apple retail organization offering them positions at Microsoft retail. They have also been offered more money than what they made at Apple.
We still don’t quite understand why Microsoft’s getting into the retail game at all; the company seems to sell more than enough Xboxes, software and Zunes without the added costs of setting up shop in every mall in America. OK, maybe not Zunes, but the retail presence won’t really make a whole lot of difference there.
Poaching from the competition is a time-honored tradition in just about every industry, so it’s hard to fault Microsoft for going after the Apple corps. But PC World’s David Coursey has a point when he says that, “if the Mac, iPod, and iPhone are really a lifestyle and not mere gizmos, then the true believers will stay. And Apple has many more of the truly faithful than East Germany had.”
Then again, Microsoft can tempt them with “a few extra thousand dollars a year, maybe a polo to replace the Apple t-shirt, and the opportunity to work at a company with a better career path than Apple might offer.” And don’t forget those Zunes. Microsoft has to do something with all of the unsold inventory.