Columnist outlines good and bad of Apple Stores

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Writing for Interactive Week , Matthew Rothenberg takes a look at both sides of Apple's retail store initiative in a new article entitled Apple Retail Feels the Pinch.

With the retail market and computer market both suffering as the economy goes south, Rothenberg openly wondered if Apple really stood to succeed with its plan of increasing market share with the new stores. Consumer confidence is off -- way off -- and now seems like the worst possible time to open a retail store chain. And the retail PC market is totally off kilter compared to where it was a year or two ago, as well.

In fact, reminded Rothenberg, even Apple CFO Fred Anderson recently told press and analysts that the company didn't expect to make any money on retail stores this quarter -- he told them to expect to see "a small loss" instead of the break-even Apple had been hoping for in previous guidance.

So, does that signal defeat? Not at all, said Rothenberg, although Apple and its boosters probably have to "recalibrate their expectations" for the time being.

After all, if nothing else, the Apple stores are serving up as excellent resources for existing Mac users looking for new hardware and software. "The outlets may not be profit centers this year, but they're still manna to Mac boosters frustrated by a local dearth of dealers," said Rothenberg.

So, while proselytizing the Mac Way to the "other 95 percent" may have to wait until the economy turns around, at least Mac users stand to benefit from Apple's one-two punch of brick-and-mortar and online stores, said Rothenberg.

This story, "Columnist outlines good and bad of Apple Stores" was originally published by PCWorld.

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