Misrata, Libya — When the doors of Libya’s first Apple Store opened in this hotbed of revolution at 7:00 am, the line already snaked around the block. Or, more accurately, what was left of the block.
Putting the uprising aside for one magical day, thousands in the town of Misrata celebrated the opening of Apple Store #323.
“We know a thing or two about revolution,” said Ron Johnson, Apple’s Senior VP of Retail, who cut the ribbon amid celebratory gunshots by the excited citizenry. “So our bond with the Libyan people runs deep.”
Marketing plans acquired by Scoopertino indicate that the bond will get even deeper. Apple is bumping up its use of the word revolutionary by over 280% in a TV, poster and leafleting campaign that breaks today.
Like the company’s stores in other countries, Libya’s Apple Store is designed to blend with the local architecture and culture.
The store itself is a renovation of an 11th-century courthouse. The Genius Bar will not only repair Apple products, it will offer help to customers dealing with jammed AK-47s, as well as finicky shoulder-mounted rocket launchers.
While there is definitely excitement in the air — along with the occasional streak of tracers — Apple is by no means getting a free ride in Libya. Opening in just two weeks is Microsoft Store #8, which panders to the pro-Gadhafi crowd massing arms in Tripoli.
Microsoft says it has a “winner” in a theme that will appeal to government supporters and those too afraid to leave their homes: Microsoft: Making the status quo more tolerable than ever.