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In Store Microsoft Gurus

Microsoft just launched a new $300 million marketing campaign and image makeover. This in an attempt to at minimum, keep up with Apple and the competition.

Now Microsoft Corp. says that they plan to deploy its own customer-service representatives at retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City to help people with their PC purchases. These 155 "Microsoft Gurus" will be in U.S. stores by the end of the year, and expand based on the project's success, Microsoft's general manager of corporate com.

These gurus will be answering questions about PCs and Microsoft products, as well as giving demos of how the company's products work together — help designed to get them thinking Microsoft.

The move is more likely to strike up comparisons with Apple which has portrayed Microsoft as unhip and out of touch.

Apple Inc., which runs "Genius Bars" in its stores to answer questions about Macs and iPods. The Genius Bar also offers technical support on already-purchased products, which the Microsoft reps will not do.

Microsoft had tested about 25 of the service employees in the U.S. and Europe since October 2007.

Its Gurus join a barrage of efforts behind Microsoft's latest and largest-ever marketing campaign, including commercials that began airing Thursday night featuring Chairman Bill Gates and new pitchman Jerry Seinfeld.

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