While the buzz builds in advance of today’s Zune press briefing, one can’t help but wonder if Microsoft is willing to go all the way in challenging Apple in the entertainment lifestyle gadgetry market. Macworld UK (via Neowin):
Shortly after Apple CEO Steve Jobs launched new music products Tuesday, company senior vice president of retail Ron Johnson talked shop at the ThinkEquity Partner’s conference.
He confirmed the company plans to introduce new design features in future shops “later this month”. They will be visible September 23 at two new US shops, he added.
These new designs will be inspired by some new features found in the firm’s flagship New York retail outlet on Fifth Avenue, an underground complex topped-off with an eye-catching glass cube at ground level.
Johnson also offered another gem of data that illustrates just how far Apple has come since the launch of the first iMac in 1998.
The Apple Store is the fastest-growing retailer in the US. A new shop opens every nine days, Johnson said. It plans to open 40 stores each year in future, he added.
While Microsoft doesn’t have its own PC to fill the ritzy displays next to the Zune, it does have the Xbox. Now for a Fifth Avenue shop with funky architecture.