Microsoft also plans California location soon

Microsoft is fighting to get into the retail market with its own stores to battle rival Apple. Microsoft is now set to open its first retail location in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Microsoft is hoping to open the store on October 22, the day Windows 7 launches or within a few days of that date if all go well. When Microsoft first announced it would be opening retail stores earlier this year, it said that the stores would be next door to Apple retail locations.

So far, that isn’t as accurate as Microsoft may have hoped. The Arizona location is not in the same area as an Apple store. Microsoft also plans to launch a store in Mission Viejo, California and it is in the same mall as an Apple store at least.

Microsoft's David Porter, corporate VP of retail stores said, "Our customers have told us they want more choice, more value, and better service, and that's what we'll deliver through our Microsoft Stores."

The Arizona store is also a short drive away from a Best Buy store, one of Microsoft's most important retail partners. Analyst Stephen Baker from NPD Group believes that retailers have to get over worries of competing with suppliers. He says, "Everybody is in everybody's space."

The Wall Street Journal reports that by owning its own retail stores Microsoft will have more control over how its products are marketed to consumers. The stores will also allow Microsoft to have more seasoned and knowledgeable associates to explain new technology and products to consumers.

Laptops and computers won’t be the only things sold in the stores. The most visible feature in the Arizona location reports eWeek  is a 96-inch screen that shoppers can use to play Xbox 360 games.

Acer's U.S. VP Sumit Agnihotry isn't worried about the competition form Microsoft stores against other retail partners. He says, "I think an environment like the Microsoft stores will allow us a little more real estate to try new things."

The Microsoft stores will also have a help counter where consumers can get technical assistance with Microsoft products when needed. Apple does this with its Genius Bar in its retail locations.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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