There's been lots of coverage of Microsoft's training materials aimed at Best Buy retail employees to help them sell Windows vs. Linux. Frankly, I was surprised Microsoft bothered to spend the money and time to create these docs, given Linux PCs constitute about one percent of the market. (Linux servers, of course, are a different story and one Microsoft is and needs to continue to focus on....)
Ars Technica has unearthed a more telling set of Best Buy training docs from Microsoft: Ones aimed at teaching store employees how to pitch Windows 7 PCs vs. Macs. Given how much time, effort and money Microsoft is spending to fight Apple, these docs are a lot more relevant and interesting, in my opinion.
According to the slides posted by Ars, Microsoft is continuing to push a number of the same messages it has been delivering with its Laptop Hunters TV commercials: Windows PCs offer more bang for the buck than Macs. One slide says users can save up to $300 by choosing a Windows machine over a Mac with comparable specs. (Ars reporter Emil Protolanski wonders aloud how Microsoft came up with that figure. But there are no details on the slide.)
Other messages in the training docs: PCs offer users more customization options, more games and more choices of apps than Macs. One slide pits the Windows 7 dock against the Mac OS X dock and claims the Windows one is "familiar but better." (To date, as Ars notes, the Windows team been careful not to compare/contrast publicly the two docks.)
I realize Apple built a whole campaign around the concept of "switchers" and that there are, indeed, a measurable number of former Windows users who are now Mac users. (I get mail from them quite often.) But I am skeptical that shoppers in the market for a new PC are equally open -- by the time they walk into a retail store -- to buying either a Windows PC or a Mac. I feel as though by the time they are ready to spend, they've already decided whether they're a PC or a Mac.
What's your take? Does Microsoft need to be coaching Best Buy employees on how to pitch Windows PCs vs. Macs? I think Microsoft's money would be better spent teaching retailers how to convince Windows XP users to upgrade to Windows 7, myself....