At the Fashion Show, a High-Tech Showdown


Photo by Nicole Ely

It feels like a science fiction movie: I’m in a familiar place, but something is off. It looks like an Apple Store. Similar display tables. Tablets and smartphones aligned and ready for people to play with. Similar staff, clad in dark-blue T-shirts, eager to answer questions. But no customers. And when have you ever seen an Apple Store vacant?

Then I see the sign, four illuminated and colorful cubes that make up one large square: Turns out I’m at the new Microsoft Store. From operating systems to tablets, Microsoft has been following Apple’s lead for years; now it’s followed its rival into the Fashion Show.

The Microsoft Store opened November 14, just a couple of minutes down the concourse from the much larger Apple Store. And for those who have decided against an iPhone 5c, it offers a good opportunity to do some hands-on shopping for an alternative. Microsoft’s product line isn’t as broad as Apple’s in terms of accessories, but then again you won’t find the Xbox One and Skylanders action figures at the Apple Store.

Plus, while I was browsing, five different employees offered their help within 10 minutes. At Apple, it was one employee after 20. So if you want to beat the crowd to that Xbox and the new Assassin’s Creed game, this could be the answer. Go ahead, there’s no one in front of you in line.