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Mall lurk man: Apple smashes Microsoft in Black Friday fondle wars

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Anecdotal evidence suggests Apple may have beaten Microsoft in the Black Friday faceoff for consumers' dollars.

A Wall St analyst performed an comparative report at the iconic mega-retail palace Mall of America, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He found that on on 23 November, shoppers at Apple’s store in the famous mall bought an average of 17.2 items per hour, versus the 3.5 items that were purchased at Microsoft’s store, located just opposite the Apple shop.

Piper Jaffray senior research analyst and managing director Gene Munster said none of the goods bought at Microsoft’s store were Surface tablets, with all but two of the purchases being games for Redmond’s Xbox.

Munster and his team claimed 11 iPads sold per hour at the Apple store, down from 14.8 on Black Friday 2011. According to Munster, foot traffic was higher at the Apple store than a year ago, growing 31 per cent.

It's not clear how scientific the reported analysis is, but it seems to have become an annual event for Munster to stake out the Mall of America the day after Thanksgiving. The Mall of America boasts more than 500 shops, 50 restaurants, seven nightclubs and 14 film theatres. Some will be tempted to extrapolate these rather ad hoc observations of one shopping centre - albeit the United States most famous one - into something more representative and meaningful as it suits the building narrative of disappointing early Windows 8 tablet sales. But the real test will be when the quarter's numbers are reported in January.

The Financial Times, meanwhile, reported that next year’s anticipated opening of UK and European Microsoft retail stores would depend on the performance of the US outlets. Microsoft opened its first store three years ago, in October 2009, in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company today has 32 outlets. ®

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