Discuss: At&t Vs. Microsoft Store; Which is Better for Nokia

| November 11, 2012 | 36 Replies

Earlier today a mini debate was sparked on twitter when I tweeted that Microsoft Stores were probably more effective at selling the new Lumia devices than the At&t stores:


The reasoning behind my tweet was that I’ve heard multiple stories where At&t employees were somewhat clueless regarding the Lumia line, or WP8 in general. We’ve heard of refusals to sell the Lumias off contract at the current time, as well as limited stock and colors at At&t stores. On the other hand besides a single person mentioning that Microsoft Store employees were pushing customers towards HTC devices the general outlook is that Microsoft stores know what they’re talking about regarding the devices and features, as well as a much wider range of available colors.

The major benefit is that Microsoft stores sell all the new Lumia devices (920, 810, 820, 822) making it easier for customers to make an informed decision between the different devices & carriers, the obvious downside for this is that all the other flagship devices from HTC and Samsung would also be on display (in contrast to At&T or Verizon who seem to have taken on only a single flagship device from either HTC or Nokia and pairing them with medium range devices from both). Another huge boost for Nokia as a whole through Microsoft stores is the Windows 8 ecosystem environment, someone might walk in to see a new Windows 8 laptop, and if the sales person were clever enough he could guide him into purchasing a WP8 device (preferably a Nokia) to match his new hardware, closing the loop (something Apple has had great success in, I can’t count the number of times one of my Apple obsessed friends only started off with an iPod or a MacBook and now has a mini Apple Showroom at his house). Also let’s not forget that people at the Microsoft Showroom would naturally more about WP than At&t employees (at least in theory).


Another factor that should help boost Lumia sales, or at least interest in the Lumias relies on how successful Microsoft stores as a whole are; if they ever reach something close to what Apple Stores have become then good things are in store. Apple stores no longer represent a conventional “store” or a showroom, but have somehow transformed into a mini “community Hangout” where it has become very acceptable to walk in with absolutely no intent on purchasing a product, poke a round a bit then leave without getting the guilt stare-down from employees (something clothes store employees love doing). Should Microsoft stores succeed at reaching this level of community acceptance then general awareness of Lumias would be greatly boosted which would lead to a serious increase in brand awareness, and eventually increase in sales.

On the other hand this would only be effective if At&t didn’t do there best at selling the 920s (ignore the 8XX series for now); At&t has exclusivity on them, meaning it’s up to them Nokia and Microsoft to market the hell out of this phone, and so far I haven’t heard of any serious campaigning. Sure At&t put up a cute Work for Will video, but that’s no where near enough; at the 900 launch there were loads of adverts, videos, cardboard stands center store displays; and of course who could forget the “Smartphone beta Test campaign” (which interesting has had all signs of existence erased, youtube videos removed, website redirected..). But as of now I haven’t heard of nor seen any extensive campaigning, in fact At&t even blurred out the Nokia logo in their ad featuring the 920 (in blend-in-with-the-rest-of-the-world Black).

My personal thoughts are that until At&t pulls its stuff together Microsoft stores are the best bet at getting the Lumias out and about; of course there’s the tiny problem that they’re no where as common as At&t stores/showrooms which are present in every mall/plaza/square and grocery store.

What’re your thoughts on the issue? have you seen a noticeable difference in knowledge/sales expertise between the two stores? Got any pictures of what type of attention the Lumias get in each? Either post your pictures down below or email them to me at aliqmnb(at)gmail.com.



Category: aPPLE, HTC, iPhone, Lumia, Nokia, Windows Phone

About the Author ()

Hey, my name's Ali- Currently a fifth (and final) year Dental Student from Chicago; studying in Jordan. I love all sorts of gadgets almost as much as I love my cookies! Be sure to follow my Twitter handle @AliQudsi and Subcribe to my Youtube for the latest videos - no pressure. Thanks.
  • Jesse

    I think their approach with Celebrities like Jessica Alba is probably the best option. People I never expected to be talking about Windows Phone are talking about it, which is a good thing.

    They desperately need Instagram though, the audience they are targeting is obsessed with Instagram and it really is a deal breaker now that it is the largest mobile photo sharing service.

    • migo

      Yeah, if MS and/or Nokia could reach an arrangement with Facebook, they could release ads along the lines of “Lumia 920; the best phone for Instagram”. Would totally be worth whatever it costs them (and Facebook could use the extra cash with their stocks slipping).

  • M

    Not everyone has access to a Microsoft Store as compared to at&t store. I live in a city of 4 million and there’s one Microsoft stores as compared to dozens of att stores. While Microsoft store might have the better experience, its more important to develop a better relationship for launches with att stores.

  • Simo

    MICROSOFT STORE! It’s not even a contest. Now, both somewhat botched the launch, with sales reps barely knowing anything about the device or its availability. However, the Microsoft Store had a wider color selections (all colors except yellow, the one I want), while at best a few AT&T stores had black, white, and red. Plenty of AT&T stores only had black, some only had white, and a few had both black and white.

    AT&T also botched the free wireless charging pad promotion, failing to ship it to some folks and charging others for it. Worst of all, most AT&T stores are refusing to sell folks the phone off-contract! When people contacted AT&T about this, they say it’s at every individual store’s discretion to sell phones off-contract or not. Of course, with the asininely astronomically monthly rates they charge, I can see why they don’t want smart consumers to buy the phone off contract and use it with MVNOs like StraightTalk and Red Pocket. Microsoft Stores are selling the phone off-contract.

    • Simo

      And I didn’t even mention the boatloads of people who pre-ordered from AT&T and still haven’t received their Lumias. All-in-all it’s as if AT&T is intentionally trying to make the Lumia 920 fail. I know that’s not the case, but they’ve been THAT BAD.

    • TKrum

      I have to agree with you 10000++%.
      I stood in line at the AT&T store in Redmond Town Center for 40 mins, and as I was getting closer to the front of the line. I was told that they do not sell the phone off-contract. Myself and several other buyers were pissed, so we left. I drove to AT&T store in Bellevue Sq, and again was told that they won’t sell the phone off-contract. I storm off, and went to the Microsoft Store and ask them if I could buy the 920 off-contract, and was told yes they do. I got in the back of the line, and waited for 30 mins before walking out with my Cyan L920.
      I’m sorry Nokia, but the exclusive deal gotta go for your future sucess. By allow other carriers to sell them, you will encompass more demographical buyers.
      Anyway, I’m VERY happy with my Cyan Lumia 920, just like I did with my black Lumia 900.

      • M

        Wait they have the cyan at the Microsoft store?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

        • TKrum

          Yes, at Microsoft Store in Bellevue Sq.

          • M

            I called and they have limited amounts in the Houston one which is on the completely other side of town from me. Haha gotta get ready and get over before they run out with my luck. Thanks and wish me luck.

            • TKrum

              Good Luck. Do report back and let us celebrates your success!

              • M

                I made it over there just in time to grab the last cyan. The cyan is darker than it looks in pic. Looks great in person (color pops). Figured I’d get the cyan this time since I had a black N9 and L900. Thanks for the tip again.

                • TKrum

                  Woot Woot!!!
                  Although the black would be more suitable for my business attire. My old black L900 is nice and all, but its just blend in with any other phones. I want people to know that I’m using Nokia L920, and that is why I bought the cyan.

        • Simo

          Yup, most people are saying they found cyan at the Microsoft Store. Both Microsoft Stores in my area (northern Virginia) had all colors except yellow (including cyan)/

          • Viipottaja

            Hi Simo, if you want to see the yellow in real life, go to the Tyson’s Corner mall at&t store and ask for Will (sorta Latin looking guy with a mustache :)) He has one for his personal use- make sure you tell him you you just want to see the color (he almost did not show it to me because he first thought I wanted to by one).

            • Simo

              Hey, thanks for the tip bro! I’m really hoping the Tyson’s location (Microsoft Store) gets yellows in by Tuesday at the latest. I’ve been calling them 3 times a day since launch lol.

              • Lamppu

                Simo ja Viipottaja. Meidän pitää odottaa vielä 10 päivää!

                • Viipottaja

                  Moi Lamppu, jaksamista odotukseen! 🙂 I believe though that Simo is not a Finn – IIRC I asked him once about it, I might be wrong though!

  • Joker

    There are 2000+ official ATT stores, MSFT stores only 50 something. If I were in charge in MSFT, I will spend 5 Billion dollars, open 5000 MSFT stores world wide, make sure it covers every mall in the world. Even though it’s not selling one product.

    I’m a TV regular, I haven’t seen a Lumia TV ads since ever. I know they had some program sponsor ship, but too little. You know, a lawyer can run TV ads every day on national TV like FOX (Judge Judy), years long. How much they make? a few millions a year? How much Nokia make? A few billion a year? Why can’t Nokia run TV commercial every day, everywhere? I am not understanding this, folks?

    • Abhay Naik

      It looks like Nokia is trying do a small beta test here…get this phone in people’s hand who have already tried wp platform…not a lot of stores had enough inventory…
      If they can collect info on current issues, they can then release a firmware to existing phones….and also all the new phones they will sell in the holiday season…last time when they sold 900, they ended up giving $100 to everyone to resolve an issue with data connection…this was despite the fact that the problem was no where related to Nokia and was more of Att issue…but in the end media publicized the issue so much that Nokia ended up looking bad…

      Considering that the real holiday season is still a few weeks ahead, it would make perfect sense for Nokia to fix all the existing issues with a new firmware….and then go in for a full scale advertizing…

      • Abhay Naik

        I bought a new cyan 920 from att and I must say its way better than my 900.

        If anyone has a rubber sleeve on their 900, should not worry about the size of this new phone…900 with a rubber sleeve has the same dimensions (height and width) as a 920…actually 920 ia thinner…

    • migo

      I think Nokia needs to get a good ad out. When lawyers run commercials it’s for personal injury or the like. They follow a set formula, and they’re targeting people who need a personal injury lawyer. It’s quite simple, and in that case it’s very much just about exposure.

      Nokia has another thing, in that they need to finally get a good ad that attracts people to buy a Lumia, because by now almost everyone who might buy one already has a phone that works for them.

  • Viipottaja


    And boy is it a beauty!

    Happy to answer any questions.

    on the store issue, I had a mixed experience in AT&T stores and quite a good one in the MS store. I think both are critical elements for Nokia’s continuing come back effort. Also, there will never be enough MS stores to do it alone.

  • viktor von d.

    there are bad reports from MS stores too, in some places it was reported that they didn’t have the lumias, that sale staff didn’t even knew the lumia 920 existed and didn’t like people asking too many questions about availability and such things. I think sales people in general suck. Many of them are clueless idiots who direct you to their platform of choice,and don’t care about anything else,don’t want to learn,don’t want to be good at their jobs. Probably being a sale staff at a carrier store or any store in general is like having a job at mcdonalds. You don’t care about it,you are just there to get paid,and that’s it

    • migo

      Sales people don’t direct you to their platform of choice, they direct you to whichever phone and plan combination gives them the best commission and the biggest kickback.

      I did that for a bit, and you’d have all phones from one carrier giving a $7 kickback, but occasionally one would pop up that has a $20 kickback. As long as that was on, they would direct everyone to the phone with the $20 one.

    • Mike

      So true

  • shallow ocean shoal

    AT&T stores are terrible. They are understaffed and overcrowded with people that need broken stuff fixed.

    Have a problem with your iphone? Get in line. 1.5 hour wait.

    • migo

      Funny thing, my girlfriend always comments how in the Apple store it’s always packed with people lining up to see a ‘genius’ over a broken product.

  • stylinred

    at&t the since they’re everywhere, MSFT store employees may likely be no better

    I would like a MSFT store selling unlocked devices though but most people don’t go for unlocked anyhow

    Unfortunately the pop-up MSFT stores in Canada are only selling Surface tablets :/ unsure about the MSFT store in Toronto though

  • migo

    It’s comparing apples and oranges. If you go to a Microsoft store to buy a phone, you’ve already decided on Windows Phone. Most people going to an AT&T store haven’t decided yet (or if they have, it’s iPhone or Android they’ve decided on), so there still isn’t that much opportunity to convert people over unless AT&T and Verizon do it.

    And speaking of which, T-Mobile would have been a better partner in some ways. They don’t have the iPhone so would likely love to have something like the Lumia 920 as an alternative, and they’ve been way more supportive of Nokia in the past, so they’ve likely got more customers who are open to buying Nokias.

    Too late for that now, and I can understand the reasoning behind the AT&T strategy, but it’s more of an all or nothing approach that could either succeed quite well or fail miserably, while going with T-Mobile would have likely guaranteed a slow but steady increase in sales to give Nokia an opportunity to regroup in the states.

  • so

    AT & T not only has lumia , also have the galaxy , nexus , iphone , htc etc .. android and iphone are definitely above WP if I were AT & T I buy a android without thinking. and if I go to microsoft store , they’re going to offer HTC then buy online , haha ​​. nokia is fu**cked

  • 2Die4

    Awesome news!
    Nokia 820 and HTC 8x are sold out at Microsoft Store in Bellevue Square.

    • 2Die4

      (correction) Nokia 920

    • stylinred

      there’s a microsoft store in bellevue?! damnit if i knew that id have driven down and picked one up

  • Andrey

    I tried At&t – Denied! At&t online – Denied! Best Buy – Sold out!
    Finally to the Microsoft.com site, the process was super quick and the phone is on its way to me. Hopefully I will be able to do a prepaid plan with AT&T.

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