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Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 04:50 am PT (07:50 am ET)

Microsoft hires Apple Store staff; potential employee walk-out

Software giant Microsoft is apparently also looking to lure away retail employees from Apple's own stores; and employees at a Washington Apple Store have planned a walk-out.

Microsoft courting Apple Store managers, staff

Citing anonymous sources, Jim Dalrymple at The Loop has reported that Microsoft has contacted "a number of Apple's retail store managers" in an attempt to hire them away. The employees have been promised "significant raises," and some were even offered moving expenses. The strategy also allegedly has a recruitment element to it.

"Once hired, the ex-Apple employees are then contacting some of the top sales people in the Apple retail organization offering them positions at Microsoft retail," Dalrymple wrote. "They have also been offered more money than what they made at Apple."

As Microsoft prepares to enter the retail market, it has taken a number of cues from Apple's successful brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, the Redmond, Wash., company even hired real estate expert George Blankenship, one of the cornerstones of Apple's early retail efforts, to consult on its first retail stores.

Apple's rival to the north will also mimic the Genius Bar with its own "Guru Bars," where customers would be allowed to make appointments and ask questions.

Microsoft intends to go head-to-head with Apple in the retail space. Some stores will even be purposefully located within proximity. The first face-off will take place in Mission Viejo, Calif., at The Shops.

Washington Apple Store walk-out planned by employees

Employees at the Apple Store in the Alderwood mall in Lynnwood, Wash., are apparently so upset with management that they intend to walk out in protest at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3. According to someone familiar with the matter who contacted AppleInsider, it will include Mac Specialists, Geniuses and Creatives, as well as former employees of the location.

The info was also provided to ifoAppleStore, where it was noted that such an event would be the first known at an Apple Store.

On employee said that the store's "abusive" management has potentially violated the law, and alleged that Apple human resources did not conduct a complete investigation of the matter. The person said that employees talked with the corporation, including Ron Johnson, senior vice president of retail, but to no avail.