Microsoft, Copilot This!

Yesterday, I dropped by Best Buy for a quick looksee. My local store, in San Diego’s Mission Valley district, is undergoing changes that started with remodeling last year—or, gasp, was it 2022? Oh, how we lose track of time. Regardless, a dramatic change greeted me.

What can best be described as an Apple mini-store occupies some of the space once dominated by Microsoft, Surface devices, and OEM laptops. The newer setup is all about digital lifestyle, with all-Apple devices gathered together in one area. If there was space being made for Windows Copilot+ PCs packing Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite and Plus processors, I couldn’t find it. But nobody could miss all that fruit-logo fare.

Companies pay for retail space, and I got to wonder: With Copilot+ PCs sales starting on June 18, San Diego being Qualcomm’s home base, and Windows laptops once occupying much of the retail space now filled by Apple gear, you would think that the most prominent location would be important for introducing people to the new category and generating sales.

I will return in six days to see if there is some meaningful Copilot+ PC gathering of laptops or prominent promotional signage. Right now, while the fruity mini-store’s spacious, low tables pleasantly present iPads, iPhones, MacBooks, and the like, Windows computers cramp together along aisles or upon tables that are packed in quite closely. The feeling is one of navigating an obstacle course.

Before the redesign, Samsung had its own quadrant, more store center—and better location than Apple has now. That vanished with the storewide revamp. Now there is no Samsung digital lifestyle to sell. Tablets are here. Laptops are there somewhere. Smartphones are further removed, and televisions are back of the store. The Korean manufacturer’s products work well together, in seamless fashion, akin to Apple, but for a broader range of appliances and electronics. Not that any shopper would know.

Microsoft marketers, shame on you. Best Buy should showcase Copilot+ PCs powered by energy-efficient Snapdragon chips. Qualcomm decision-makers, go to the dunce corner and sit. You shouldn’t cede homecourt advantage to rival Apple. Two days ago, the fruit-logo company launched Apple Intelligence, which is supposed to be about adding AI smarts to devices, platforms, and services. But, it’s something bigger—as the Apple intelligence of securing prime retail space marginalizes competitors’ next big thing.

The Featured Image comes from Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 160, 1/180 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 2:37 p.m. PDT.