While Apple was not the first tech-centric company to have a retail store, the stores are powerful. (In terms of revenue/earnings, costumer satisfaction and connecting with the local community.)
The success had Microsoft follow. Now, Google is looking to get in the retail game. I am not a fan of blind speculation, but how Google approaches retail can be good or can be very messy.
Will the retail outlets leverage all (or select) the Android OEMs or focus solely on the Nexus brands (or whatever is considered "Google hardware")? The former implies an inventory mess, along with potentially pissing-off OEMs if they somehow feel excluded, pushing them deeper into Windows 8. The latter implies an Apple-like store to make the Nexus brand a house hold name. Allowing Google to sell the Nexus brands for profit. (Or selling the hardware for a somewhat higher price or for greater margins as the locations have to be funded.)
If Apple, Microsoft and Google have a retail presence, will Amazon follow suit to facilitate their Kindle line?
If Amazon truly wants to get a critical mass with their tablets, Apple proved retail locations work. But Bezos knows Wall Street too well. Retail stores for Amazon removes the promise of Amazon: A dominant invisible retailer that does not have the over-head of brick-and-mortar. Retail stores will allow analysts to compare to other retailers. Retail sales will allow for a level of transparency regarding tablet sales. This transparency is a threat to Amazon. Transparency will justifying a lower valuation.
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