Google Gaps on Retail Store Rumors (Update 1)
Google may well have noted the success of Apple's Retail Stores, and believe that it can replicate the model. At the most recent Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook credited Apple's retail outlets for the success of the iPad, saying that the tech giant's network of stores helped customers understand the product when it was announced in 2010.
"Because here's a product coming out. It's different. People's view of a tablet -- the tablet that was ingrained in their mind was this heavy thing that the Hertz guy was holding that no one wanted," Cook said, when referencing the iPad's success. "But our store is a place to go and explore and discover and try it out and see what it will do. And I don't think that the launch would have been nearly as successful without stores that welcome people in at 10 million a week and show this."
Aside from the ability to show off company products, Google may be eyeing the tremendous revenue potential that Apple has demonstrated with its stores. At the conference, Cook noted that the average Apple Store (Apple has more than 400 of them around the world), racked up over $50 million in revenue last year. In total, the stores hosted over 370 million people.
Other companies besides Google have attempted to exploit retail. There were the Gateway stores in the 1990s that demonstrated success for a period of time. Microsoft (MSFT) has also tried its own retail approach, albeit with mixed results.
Google's reported change in thinking comes just a few months after Sameer Samat, Google Shopping's vice president of product management, told AllThingsD that Google doesn't intend to go the retail route. "We aren't planning on being a retailer," Samat said in an interview. "We don't view being a retailer right now as the right decision."
Google responded to TheStreet's request for comment in an email, saying the company doesn't "comment on rumor or speculation."
Shares of Google were higher in Tuesday trade, gaining 1.29% to $803.10.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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