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Microsoft Recruits Former Apple Retail Store Exec for Retail Initiative

TechFlash reports that Microsoft has recruited former Apple real estate chief George Blankenship as a consultant for its new retail initiative. Blankenship, who previously worked at Gap, is said to be an expert at securing prime retail locations.

A Microsoft representative confirmed that he's now working on real estate with Microsoft -- but as a consultant, not as a full-time employee. The company declined to go into any detail on his role, but his experience stands to be a big benefit as Microsoft pushes into the retail market.

ifoAppleStore explains the significance of the choice of retail locations in Apple's growth of their retail stores. Conventional wisdom at the time located retail computer stores on inexpensive stand-alone retail locations. Apple's plan focused on high-profile retail locations in the heart of high-traffic shopping centers:

In a 2006 speech to an investment group, Johnson recalled the early planning: "If you want to enrich their lives, you can't be in a parking lot, off a highway. You gotta be where they live their life. You gotta be right where they work, where they play, where they live, where they shop. The only way to enrich their life is to be part of their life. They've got to walk 10 feet to your store, not drive the car 10 miles. That's what enriching lives would take."

This plan, of course, has been a success despite early predictions by both analysts and press that Apple's move into retail was a bad idea at the time. Microsoft's move into storefronts is said to be more of a "showcase" of their products than pure retail outlets.