Microsoft opens store to throng of concertgoers

Published On: Jun 13 2013 07:37:46 PM HST

It's a clash of the tech titans at Ala Moana Center.

Microsoft's first Hawaii store opened Thursday morning almost directly across from the Apple Store.

More than 3,000 people showed up after hearing the buzz Microsoft has been making in Hawaii, but were they lined up for the tech hardware and software or something else?

"Yeah, we're pretty much here for the tickets," said one person.

"I see an iPhone, I see a Mac, but you're here for Microsoft?" asked reporter Brenton Awa.

"I'm actually here for the Macklemore concert," said the person in line.

Microsoft knows how to draw a crowd -- with free concert tickets!  Workers handed out more than 2,000 of them to the fans who camped out overnight.

The next step -- keeping them coming back.

"It's not just the concert, we're investing in the community," said Jonathan Adashek of Communications Strategy.  "We do a lot of things to become part of the fabric."

Microsoft had the hype machine churning in its expansion to Hawaii.

Giant ads hang around Ala Moana Center and the company's signs are easily visible throughout the mall.

There's goodwill -- to the tune of $1.3 million in software grants donated to local organizations like the Palama Settlement.

This is Microsoft's 39th full line store in the U.S.  The goal is to win customers from Apple or elsewhere, one at a time.

"When we build those relationships, our customers are going to get what they're looking for -- choice, value and service," said Adashek.

When you open a store right across the walkway from Apple, you can a plan to cherry-pick their loyal followers.  Microsoft says bring in your iPads and iPhones and they'll buy it off of you.  They'll buy other smartphones, too.

It's an uphill climb.  Bloomberg reports Microsoft sold just 1.5 million of its Surface tablets during the last quarter of 2012 compared to Apple's sales of 23 million iPads.

But, if today is any indication, if Microsoft is going to lose this battle, it won't go quietly.

One of those in-store deals is $100 off the Surface tablet.

The Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert with Neon Trees started at 6 p.m. at the Kaka'ako Waterfront Park.


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