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Microsoft Windows

Best Buy + Windows Guru = Apple Store Experience? 600

Posted by kdawson
from the better-paid-than-geniuses dept.
CWmike writes "As part of Windows Vista's $300 million marketing rehab, Microsoft will hire an initial wave of 155 'Windows Gurus' to walk around Best Buy and Circuit City stores to answer customer questions and defend Vista's reputation against skeptics, reports say. Gurus will earn $20 an hour or more, plus benefits. (Apply here.) One way Windows Gurus will differ from Apple Geniuses is that they are not intended to be sources of free technical support for existing Vista users. 'The Guru role is to help sell Windows-based PCs. It is not to be an alternative tech support channel for Microsoft as this has no financial return beyond improved customer satisfaction,' Baker said. One reason: Windows Gurus could end up 'lightning rods for customers' frustrations with Vista.'"
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Best Buy + Windows Guru = Apple Store Experience?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:22AM (#24979907)

    We'd... um... like to be like that company... that sells that O/S... that every one like... likes.

    So we're going to send out these expensive sales people... to hype our product... but not stand behind it like the other guys do... because that would... be like work, man.

    • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:51AM (#24980495) Homepage

      ok, several things:

      1. real stoners don't call weed 'Sativa', as Cannabis Sativa has a low ratio of THC to CBD and also lower levels of cannabinoids in general, thus they are generally only used for manufacturing hemp, not for recreational ingestion. brick weed is generally of these strains because Sativa is much hardy as a plant, and also produces higher yields.
      2. pot smokers will, however, sometimes refer to weed as "Indo," as in Cannabis _Indica_, because it is the more potent subspecies and the one primarily cultivated as a drug source. strains referred to as Chronic are generally only bred from Indica strains, though they are sometimes cross-bred with Sativa, sacrificing potency for volume.
      3. the attitude displayed here is one of shortsighted greed, plain and simple. they want to attract customers & increase sales, but once they've got your money they don't give a damn about you anymore. that is the attitude Microsoft is expressing. i don't know what that has to do with pothead stereotypes.
      • by DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:01PM (#24980681) Homepage

        Don't have the energy or desire to determine all that.

        I need a twinkie and some diet squirt.

      • I did computer security for a medical marijuana club in San Francisco, and learned quite a bit about cannabis while there. While I agree that real stoners don't call weed 'Sativa,' I disagree about the reasons.

        First, Sativa does not have a low THC to CBD ratio. If anything, the reverse is true. Sativa gives an up, chatty, let's go out and do something kind of high. Indica has been bred for centuries to have a high CBD to THC ratio, for pain relief. It gives a sink you into the couch, stoned out of your gourd kind of high.

        Indica and Sativa plants grow differently, sativa has a tall, rangy habit while indica grows a single, fat, 'donkey dick' bud. Under ideal conditions, both strains can produce the same amount per square foot of indoor hydroponic space. Sativa does tend to produce more outdoors on a per plant basis, however, as it can grow to enormous size.

        Almost all modern pot is a hybrid between those two strains, as most recreational users tend to prefer the high from sativa, while indoor growers prefer the compact habit of indica. You can actually talk coherently on a sativa high, while medical users tend to prefer indica for its pain relief and appetite stimulating effects.

        The strains bred for hemp production are generally sativa type, but these strains have very little THC at all. Modern high grade pure sativa strains generally top out around 20% THC, while indica strains can achieve 30%, and most crosses, when grown under perfect indoor hydroponic conditions, achieve 20-25%. By comparison, brick weed has about 2-5%.

        As for the on-topic part of your post, I completely agree. :)

        • by Saint Stephen (19450) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:25PM (#24981149) Homepage Journal

          Dude, you know way too much about weed :-)

    • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:05PM (#24980751) Journal
      The overall expenditure on this "campaign" seems relatively minor in the scope of the whole "rehab" effort.
      Assuming the full-time hours stated in TFA, and that they continue this for a whole year (not stated):
      $20/hr=$40k/yr
      155*40k=6.2 mil
      6.2 mil = A little over 2% of their total rehab effort
      What sucks even more from the perspective of being one of these "salespeople" is that you, unlike the other store salespeople, don't even have the opportunity for commission, which must make it even harder to internally justify the act of promoting Vista to unsuspecting saps.
    • by ghoti (60903) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:14PM (#24980927) Homepage

      When people start to realize that these "gurus" won't help them with their problems, they will get more irritated than with the usual clueless Best Buy salesdrones. After all, what do you expect a guru to do? Answer questions!

      So they will either have to figure out some kind of transition to make those gurus available for tech support (which of course means a lot more training), or end up doing more damage than good.

      • by Firehed (942385) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:31PM (#24981239) Homepage

        My thought exactly. Either Microsoft is more ass-backwards than I had previously thought, or they simply don't understand how to compete on the same plane. Apple has plenty of people walking the sales floor answering questions and doing actual sales work, but so does Best Buy. Aside from generally needing less support in the first place, part of that Apple Store Experience is seeing that help desk and seeing that there's a physical presence where you can get any problems solved (or at least assessed, when it comes to hardware repair and such).

        The last thing that would make me buy Vista is more people pitching the damn thing to me. I don't hate it, but knowing that I could bring the machine in to have someone actually look at it and not have to fail at diagnosing it over the phone from India would be a HUGE selling point for most people. Not the geeks of Slashdot for the most part, but at least for the majority of those who have attempted to use phone support.

        Customer service-oriented companies are destined to succeed when their competitors are only sales-oriented. Apple creates a positive experience* by trying to start you off well and ensure that you're taken care of if problems are encountered. This is rarely if ever the case with Microsoft and the hardware companies that bundle its software. They treat customer support as a cost of doing business rather than a value-add for customers, and it always shows. That may work once, but it sure as hell doesn't generate repeat customers, let alone all of the free word-of-mouth advertising that Apple gets these days.

        *I've had plenty of issues with my MBP, but they've all been hardware-related except for one odd corrupted plist file that took them all of five minutes to fix, unlike all of the software problems on my Windows-based systems. They actually worked to fix the problems. Except for when I had a CD burner die in a Dell back in 2002 or so, I've never witnessed this with MS-based vendors as a consumer.

        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday September 12, 2008 @01:39PM (#24982393) Homepage

          The last thing that would make me buy Vista is more people pitching the damn thing to me. I don't hate it, but knowing that I could bring the machine in to have someone actually look at it and not have to fail at diagnosing it over the phone from India would be a HUGE selling point for most people. Not the geeks of Slashdot for the most part, but at least for the majority of those who have attempted to use phone support.

          Where you hit a bit of a problem, though, is that Microsoft is just providing the OEM software, and other people provide the hardware. Even if Microsoft wanted to provide tech support like this, what do they do when it's a hardware/driver problem?

          So there's an advantage that Apple has by selling an integrated hardware/software platform. It allows them to provide a better experience and provide better support. At least in theory.

  • by bigtallmofo (695287) * on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:23AM (#24979913)
    FTA: The good thing is that Microsoft will be able to get Windows explained appropriately on the sales floor.

    Oh my God, does this sound ominous. Any Best Buy employee explaining Windows "inappropriately" will be taken out back by a Windows Guru and "evangelized".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think "explained appropriately" is all in the eye of the beholder.
    • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:27AM (#24979999)

      FTA: The good thing is that Microsoft will be able to get Windows explained appropriately on the sales floor. Oh my God, does this sound ominous. Any Best Buy employee explaining Windows "inappropriately" will be taken out back by a Windows Guru and "evangelized".

      It's Windows we're talking about here; not OSX.

    • Any Best Buy employee explaining Windows "inappropriately" will be taken out back by a Windows Guru and "evangelized".

      "This sucks - avoid it" is appropriate, although perhaps not what they intended.

      • by mpoulton (689851) on Friday September 12, 2008 @01:29PM (#24982223)

        "This sucks - avoid it" is appropriate, although perhaps not what they intended.

        About a month ago, I had a Best Buy salesman tell me just that! Looking at new laptops, I commented that they all ran Vista and I considered that a problem. He proceeded to tell me that Vista is so bad that not a single one of their laptops runs well with it, and I should probably not buy one at all! He went on to say that I should hold out until Windows 7 comes out, if I can, because Vista is so bad that Microsoft will never fix it.

        I couldn't believe I was hearing this from a BB sales drone. I'm not kidding. I wonder if he was an early pioneer of this "Windows Guru" program?

    • by Stanistani (808333) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:34AM (#24980139) Homepage Journal
      As a newly hired Windows guru, I pledge to teach breathing exercises, tantric meditation, and contemplation of your inner penguin.
    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:43AM (#24980329) Homepage Journal
      That's why they're paid 20 bucks an hour!
      Slashdotters - give 'em hell. Here are a few questions to ask:

      "Where can I get that Linux thing that everybody's talking about?"

      "What's the point of those stupid commercials we keep seeing? It's like Bill Gates has money and likes to mock us."

      "Do windows PCs suck as much as the Mac ads say they do? I want to be cool, not old and dumb."

      "Why did Windows Vista fuck my wife? I heard it also eats babies and starts wars with defenseless countries."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FudRucker (866063)
        what would be good is if everyone that uses Linux would go to BestBuy and look at Windows Vista PCs and mention that they prefer Linux just to get the idea/word across that they are not interested in Vista...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Machtyn (759119)
          Not only that, but they can mock the Vista Aero and say, "Hm, yeah, Mac had that several years ago and Linux had that before then."
        • by surferx0 (1206364) on Friday September 12, 2008 @01:08PM (#24981881)

          what would be good is if everyone that uses Linux would go to BestBuy and look at Windows Vista PCs and mention that they prefer Linux just to get the idea/word across that they are not interested in Vista...

          Who exactly would you be getting the word out to? I work for one of these companies and it's hilarious when idiots walk in and start ranting about random BS to me thinking I am somehow responsible for the production and engineering decisions of the products we sell or that I have anything to do with the company policies and purchasing decisions.

          Look, we're mostly college students just there doing a mindless job to make a paycheck at the end of the week. We don't care that you have some love affair with Linux and that you think computers should come with it instead of Vista, do you want me to go get the laptop out of the lock-up cage or not is all I give a crap about.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PenguSven (988769)

        That's why they're paid 20 bucks an hour!

        Um.. are you under some delusion that $20/hr is a LOT?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by russotto (537200)

          Um.. are you under some delusion that $20/hr is a LOT?

          Probably is, compared to what the regular Best Buy salesdrones are getting. I'm wondering if this is some sort of masterful plan by Steve Jobs. After the sort of "defense" Vista will get from Best Buy employees, I doubt anyone will want to buy it!

        • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@@@pitabred...dyndns...org> on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:31PM (#24981255) Homepage

          In many areas of the country, it IS a lot for the type of job they're doing, especially since it almost certainly doesn't require a serious education. It's not exactly a "highly skilled" profession, it's just sales. A kid with a high-school diploma and some interest can do it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Colonel Korn (1258968)

        That's why they're paid 20 bucks an hour!
        Slashdotters - give 'em hell. Here are a few questions to ask:

        "Where can I get that Linux thing that everybody's talking about?"

        "What's the point of those stupid commercials we keep seeing? It's like Bill Gates has money and likes to mock us."

        "Do windows PCs suck as much as the Mac ads say they do? I want to be cool, not old and dumb."

        "Why did Windows Vista fuck my wife? I heard it also eats babies and starts wars with defenseless countries."

        Try going into an Apple store and asking for the identity of all of the processes run by iTunes for Windows. I do it or a variation every time I go to the mall and have time to spare. It's genuinely fun - but please be polite, accept the amusement brought about by the answer, thank the Genius and walk away.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Why did Windows Vista fuck my wife? I heard it also eats babies and starts wars with defenseless countries."

        Two of those are bugs, the other is a feature. Which ones are which is left as an exercise for the reader.

    • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:55AM (#24980579) Journal

      what bothers me even more:

      > The Guru role is to help sell Windows-based PCs.
      ? It is not to be an alternative tech support
      > channel for Microsoft as this has no financial
      > return beyond improved customer satisfaction,'

      So, let me get this straight. They are trying to improve customer satisfaction by telling everyone how great it is, but not provide help to get it to do what they want.

      Funny. That's /exactly/ my experience with Linux evangelizers, and the primary reason I don't use Linux.

      • by Machtyn (759119)
        Strangely, I've found all the help I've needed to get Linux up and running. The help forums and IRC channels are very good. Yes, you get some jerks, but for the most part, people are ready and willing to help you "learn" how to use it (not just tell you what to do). Yes, sometimes that means RTFM.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by superbus1929 (1069292)
        Yes, but at least Linux evangelists are only on forums, and in basements. These guys are RIGHT IN YOUR FACE. :(
  • by bestinshow (985111) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:23AM (#24979921)

    Only people in marketing could come up with the term "guru" to mean "someone who can't help, and exists to market to you until you give in".

    And Microsoft misses one of the myriad small points in why Apple is seen positively by so many people despite having software release management run by a Crurotarsan.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:25AM (#24979957) Homepage

      Only people in marketing could come up with the term "guru" to mean "someone who can't help, and exists to market to you until you give in".

      OK guys, let's help:

      Windows Warriors?
      Vista Vultures?
      Ballmer's Boys?
      Hardy Heron?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Spazztastic (814296)
      But... but... $20 extra an hour?! That'll certainly pull in a few MCPs! Come on!
    • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:41AM (#24980289)
      Indeed. These "gurus" are just marketers under a different name. Of course, the intention is to deceive the customer into thinking they are getting impartial technical advice, when in fact they are getting a sales pitch. Some quotes from TFA show that people are already fooled:

      "After years of monopolistic behavior, Microsoft is finally recognizing the need for the softer things, dealing with customers in a higher-touch way," said Lisa Bradner, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. "All of our research shows that customers want their hands held. They're tired of being dumped to a Web site where they have to look through some FAQs."

      Yet the article points out that the purpose of the gurus is NOT to hand-hold with respect to fixing problems, or even selecting the most appropriate product. Rather, it is to convince the customer to buy a Vista computer. This isn't a "softer" approach: it is another avenue for them to continue their usual (monopolistic?) tactics.

      I worry about this because most in-store customers will assume that the "gurus" are providing sound technical advice, but instead they are just trying to get them to buy something. The same could be said of the other store employees, I suppose; but in this case instead of steering the customer towards buying *something*, they will invariably steer the customer towards Vista. Regardless of whether or not it is the right choice for them.

      I can see this causing headaches for the stores as well. When a customer seeks out an employee for help, they are typically not aware of the distinction between different departments. Customers may become frustrated when they ask a "guru" for help but said employee can't help them ("I'm looking for a new washer/dryer." "Have you considered this Windows Vista Home Media Center desktop computer?" "WTF?")

      • Think "backlash". (Score:5, Insightful)

        by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:14PM (#24980935)

        What happens when the customer comes back NEXT weekend and tries to get the "guru" that gave him the advice to buy the Vista box?

        Okay, grab a different "guru". Why can't you answer my question? The other guy said that it WOULD work.

        It's not going to take many episodes like that before this becomes a disaster for them.

      • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:31PM (#24981249) Homepage Journal

        What I think will be interesting is when the rest of Best Buy's "less paid but do more work" employees get fed up with the fact that there are staff on hand who make $5-12/hr more for simply being able to lie.

        Think about it.... be a member of the "Geek Squad" and actually be the person stuck dealing with Vista and other issues, and actually be responsible for fixing problems, and you get paid less. Run around all day convincing people that Vista is great, do nothing to alleviate customer issues (other than point them to the less paid "Geek Squad" members) and get paid significantly more.

        I think this is a wonderful way at raising employee moral. I wonder how much money Best Buy is getting handed from Microsoft to make this happen - or if they (Best Buy) are just too brain dead to realize it's going to piss off the rest of their less paid/do more (or real) work staff - or if this is a "requirement" that Microsoft stipulated for some future or continuing concession for carrying certain products.

    • by davidsyes (765062) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:01PM (#24980691) Homepage Journal

      When is "The Linux Store", one like the Apple stores, coming? IBM and HP and Sun could get together, fine tune various laptop, desktop, GPS, multimedia, cellular, console, and home management systems in 10 major cities:

      San Francisco
      Boston
      Dallas
      Houston
      Los Angeles
      New York
      Baltimore
      Denver
      Phoenix
      Atlanta

      just to name some/around 10 cities. I imagine these and other companies could find a creative way to write this off as marketing. Rent or lease properties, them them like Gateway did and Fry's does, aim the products at people earning less than $35,000 a year, and MAKE DAMNED SURE that Gutenprint, SAMBA, Webmin, VNC, and other mixed-environment tools work. Get Compiz/Beryl/Metisse working like never before. Commit to being open 18 hours a day for 2 years. Tie it in to local unemployed/trainable people so cities and counties will allow some variances that otherwise would hamper such a project. Make sure smoothies and coffee and magazines are available, as well as some games, joysticks, and ESPECIALLY CAD apps, like Punch! ViaCAD, Medusa, and products such as 3dConnexion are on hand.

  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:25AM (#24979939)
    So existing customer satisfaction isn't important to Microsoft? Who would have ever thought that?

    Well, knock me over with a feather! ;-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Machtyn (759119)
      Customer satisfaction is Microsoft's guarantee. But, just who is their customer? (Hint: It's not the one's who purchase the software.)
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:25AM (#24979941)

    ...Windows Gurus could end up 'lightning rods for customers' frustrations with Vista.'"

    More like villagers with torches and pitchforks.

  • by darth_MALL (657218) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:25AM (#24979943)
    So does the $20/hr include danger pay?
    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:33AM (#24980115)

      Do people actually get out of bed for $20 an hour? $20 an hour, and a target painted on your back as a Microsoft rep who's supposed know everything about Windows, but won't help you out with your crappy windows computer that you bought last month.

      Worst job ever.

      • by Hyppy (74366) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:46AM (#24980395)

        Do people actually get out of bed for $20 an hour?

        The median household income [wikipedia.org] per resident in the U.S. is $26,036, which works out about $12.50 per hour per person for a 40 hour week.

    • by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:38AM (#24980247) Journal

      So does the $20/hr include danger pay?

      Danger pay is covered, but they don't reimburse you for the cost of your soul unfortunately.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by truthsearch (249536)

        Soul? Come on, CaptainPatent, there is no such thing as a soul. It's just something they made up to scare kids, like the boogeyman or Michael Jackson.

  • Apply here? (Score:5, Funny)

    by PotatoFarmer (1250696) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:26AM (#24979965)
    While the application link is a nice touch, for some reason I think Microsoft may be wary of anyone coming in with a slashdot referer.
  • Vista Sala (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rie Beam (632299) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:27AM (#24979979) Journal

    Given the commercials, I think it would be more appropriate for them to wander around Foot Locker...

  • I'm not quite sure I understand the tactic here. Best Buy and Circuit City - last I remember - don't sell Macintosh PCs or Linux/UNIX PCs. Therefore, the person would be in the store to shop for PC's loaded with Windows.

    Can I apply?? /me raises hand
    • by cowscows (103644) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:37AM (#24980215) Journal

      Best Buy has sold Macs for quite some time. The new-ish BB store not far from me has a small but reasonably nice Apple section.

      • by oahazmatt (868057) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:57AM (#24980631) Journal
        The store by me has a nice Apple section as well.

        That being said, I go to the Apple Store that's a little further out of the way on some occasions. I usually get greeted and asked if I'm looking for anything specific. I'll say I'm just looking around, and they smile politely and let me browse.

        Now, the "Genius" they have in the Best Buy Apple Section is more in line of the Windows Guru seems to be, a salesman. I walked into that section and she was absolutely relentless. She asked if I could help, I said I'm just looking. She asked what I was looking for, and I said I was just browsing various things I might need in the future. She asked what I do with the computer, and I told her I do some graphics and web design, and I was just checking out some NAS options. Then she starts pitching .Mac at me. I told her I didn't need .Mac for my projects, and I kept looking at the external drives and the Time Capsules. Then she started throwing iLife in my face. I told her that wasn't going to do what I need to do. I said I work with a lot of SQL DBs and write everything in PHP. She actually said "But you won't need to do that anymore with iLife". I asked her if she had been listening to a word I had said, or if she was just picking up keywords and throwing back responses she thought fit best.

        Now I always go to the Apple Store when I need to buy things for my Mac. If the Windows Gurus will be anything like the Best Buy Mac Fanatics, they won't last long.
  • by Spatial (1235392) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:28AM (#24980009)
    That's cool, but do they meditate?
  • by psyque (1234612) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:28AM (#24980029)
    How could selling Vista machines possibly improve customer satisfaction?
  • I think I speak for us all when I say...

    No.

  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:29AM (#24980039)
    I use Apple and Linux at Home and Windows and Linux at work and I have to say that Apple (like Pixar) does a great job on polishing under the drawers; they don't do anything halfassed in the total experience. They control the product, the store and the whole experience for a reason... to make them look extremely polished and extremely in control.

    Until Microsoft opens their own shops and controls their own hardware OEM, they can't quite duplicate the same experience that Apple has at their stores. They only thing they can do is create propoganda in a controlled environment. And Apple already has retail people and retail sections in Bestbuy locations so these MS people are going to have to compete on their turf; Apple people don't compete with anyone in their stores.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) *

      Well, and Best Buy is well known for pushing hardware and peripherals over actual support...No matter what you ask them, you always need a new one.

      I went in there once trying to get a "real" modem (not a winmodem) and I got told first, that there was no difference between a real modem and a winmodem (lie), and second, that I should just get a new computer because modems were old tech.

      Never actually asked any meaningful questions, obviously, because a new computer wasn't going to get my fax server running an

  • by Rie Beam (632299) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:32AM (#24980097) Journal

    "I'm really interested in Vista, but I can't afford it. Are there any cheaper alternatives?"

    "Hey, can I still use X feature of Vista if I downgrade to XP? Why not?"

    "Quick question -- when is the next operating system after Vista coming out? I'm really excited about that one. No, I don't know anything about it yet..."

    "How does Vista compare to non-Windows operating systems?" (Open ended, should provide some laughs)

    "If Vista is so good, why are you being $20/hour to stand around and tell me how good it is?"

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:32AM (#24980101) Homepage Journal

    Windows Vista Guru = salesperson.
    Good grief Vista must suck.
    Their adds where people try Vista and say gee this doesn't suck.
    Their ads with with Gates and Sienfeld.
    Until now I thought that Vista was just too much pain for not enough gain. I thought that maybe Windows 7 would be better.
    Now I get the feeling that Vista is the Yugo of OSs. It must really suck if they are having to push this hard.
    I was going to put Vista 64 on my wife's new PC. Now I am going to rethink that one.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:33AM (#24980119) Journal

    This could be worse than staffing one of the Dell kiosks in a mall where there's an Apple store.

    -jcr

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:33AM (#24980129) Homepage

    Not to be overly cynical, but this sounds like paying a bunch of people to walk around and try to convince the user that the experience won't suck, has never sucked, and that I'm merely deluded.

    I mean, how much of it will be true, and how much of it will simply sound like a sales pitch from someone who drank the Kool Aid?

    Man, shopping in most electronics stores is annoying enough -- having some git wandering around stumping for Windows Vista is just one more nuisance to avoid. If I'm standing there looking at a PC, and after I've shooed the salesman away, I don't want to then have to deal with some MS shill.

    Hearing that they won't actually be useful sources of information for existing customers only re-affirms my cynicism about this program.

    Cheers

  • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:33AM (#24980133)
    Looking at where they're hiring [technet.com] I noticed Seattle, WA. I obtained the script that the Gurus will use there. It says, "Buy Vista or else the man on the hill there will find out!"
  • by Fishbulb (32296) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:34AM (#24980151)

    they are not intended to be sources of free technical support for existing Vista users

    Until the people they convinced to buy Vista come back to the store in a black fart of rage looking for blood or someone to kidnap until their machine works like it did before.

    Good. Freaking. Luck.

  • Not a chance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FireStormZ (1315639) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:35AM (#24980181)

    The apple stores centers around 3 things

    1) The Genius
    2) An army of employees running around to help people
    3) A non intimidating open and easy to navigate store

    Everything they do hight lights those two things, because they can do your credit card purchase remotely they can spend more time helping people decide. They reserve so much of the store for their training sessions and demo units that the Apple store does not feel like a big box store. I don't have to work my was past cameras, dvd's, home appliances, and video games to get to the computers.

    The apple gurus are *not* sales folks and I have had them send me other places rather than buy an over priced adapter (ironically they sent me to best buy) meanwhile the 'The (Microsoft) Guru role is to help sell Windows-based PCs'. Yea thats what MS need more sales pressure at best buy...

  • by FranTaylor (164577) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:37AM (#24980205)

    "as this has no financial return beyond improved customer satisfaction"

    This just says it all about the entire Microsoft experience.

  • by dave562 (969951) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:40AM (#24980277) Journal
    What tool in Microsoft land decided to create a highly visible position that can't actually help people with the system? One of the most frequently asked questions directed toward me when I enter any retail establishment is, "How can I help you?" As consumers we are conditioned to expect that people who are employed at a store are there to help us. This is just a PR nightmare waiting to happen. I can see the PC vs Mac commercial already....

    [Enter PC and Mac. Each of them has a friend.]

    Mac, "Hey PC, who is your friend?"

    PC, "This is my [Microsoft store tool]. She's here to tell everyone how great Vista is. I see you have a friend. What does he do?"

    Mac, "This is my genius. He helps everyone USE their Apple and answers any technical questions that they may have. PC, does your friend answer technical questions? Does your friend do anything other than try to convince people to spend money on a product and then leave them out in the cold when they have questions about it? Huh? Does he? Or is he just another over paid, worthless, Microsoft marketing..."

    PC, "Shut up Mac!"

  • Only 155? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:45AM (#24980373) Journal

    I guess that's all they could find for a "Guru" willing to accept $20.00 per hour. Sorry, but if you use "expert," "genius," or "guru" in your title, you will not see $20.00 per hour.

  • by mikeboone (163222) on Friday September 12, 2008 @11:53AM (#24980533) Homepage Journal
    I guess the BSOD was not enough? Now they want to have gurus [wikipedia.org] too?
  • by retiredtwice (1128097) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:12PM (#24980895)

    Just what MS needed....

  • by fermion (181285) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:32PM (#24981279) Homepage Journal
    Company representatives are nothing new or interesting. Many printer companies will pay a rep to hang around the printer department and encourage you to buy their brand of printer. This is not helping the customer as it may be that the printer might not be best the customer. These people are level below the commission sales staff, because at least such staff will try to get you the best match of what is in stock.

    These pushers are why MS can't sell vista. They want to sell the product, they want to market it, but they won't support it. What Apple has is the personal touch. Chat icon on the help website. People at the stores you can talk to when you have problem. They support the product. Anyone can go in and talk to a rep for free, even on old product. MS does not support anyone without an additional charge.

    Here is what would encourage people to buy vista and MS based computers in general. For about 100 million dollars they could put a help technician in every best buy store. Just a person sitting a desk. Wiling to help anyone who came in with a question. I bet Best Buy would donate facilities. Anytime someone had an issue with any MS Windows based computer, just come in a get some help. Make a reservation. Get the help in person. Do you think MS spent less than $100 million on the series of ad with Seinfeld, and those don't help anyone. The sales droid walking around lying to customers don't help anyone either. It realy seems like MS will spend money on anything other than helping the end user.

  • I remember when I worked a CompUSA, back when they were the exclusive retailer for Apple. We generally tried to keep one Apple specialist on staff at all times.

    However, he was usually outnumbered by Apple fanboys that came in to the store to spread the good word of Apple, for no pay at all. Apparently local Apple owners were so in love with their Apples that they were willing to come in and preach the word of how much they loved their Apple, just for the fun of it.

    And yes, of course the fanboys sometimes new more than our Apple specialist on staff.

    But now Microsoft is going to pay fanboys to go in to retailers and preach the gospel. That really says something when the product from Microsoft cannot build the fandom that Apple had 10 or more years ago.

    Disclaimer - I use neither Apple nor Microsoft products in my own personal use.
  • by Badbone (1159483) on Friday September 12, 2008 @12:42PM (#24981441)
    Yes, I know this is "hate Microsoft" central, but lets try a bit of objectivity. HP, and Im sure other companies do the same thing.

    Each year, during the holidays, I work for a subcontractor of HP in a Best Buy, Circuit City, whatever, to be a rep for HP products. For $20 an hour, ten hours a week I fix displays, keep track of inventory, help people with buying decisions, etc.

    At no point was I told to exert undue pressure on someone to buy. Or to misrepresent the product. Or talk down competitors. I am there to demo products, and give my honest opinion.

    This just isnt as ominous as people make it out to be. Standard practice, from any other company.

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