California location also has an Apple Store in the shopping center

Microsoft is getting ready to take the battle between it and Apple to retail locations. Apple has long had its retail stores in some parts of the country where customers can walk in and play with the latest Apple hardware.

Microsoft announced earlier this month that it would be launching retail stores in close proximity to Apple Stores to help promote competition and allow customers to get hands on with the latest Windows technology. The software giant has announced the location of its first two retail locations.

The new stores will be located in Scottsdale, Arizona and Mission Viejo, California. The two stores will be located in retail shopping centers in each city. The California shopping center is also home to an Apple Store. However, there is no competing Apple store in the Arizona location.

Microsoft corporate communications director Kim Stocks said those two areas were picked because they are "hot markets." Stocks also said that the stores would sell laptops in addition to Microsoft and third-party software, Xbox games and consoles, and Zunes. Yahoo Finance reports that sketches surfaced last week that showed a store where users could order personalized laptops, take classes, and get help from experts. Microsoft says the sketches are very early and plans for the stores aren’t finalized.

The stores aren’t expected to replace the big electronics retailers like Walmart or Best Buy according to Stocks, but the stores are intended to make money. An exact launch date for the stores wasn't offered and it remains unclear how many retail stores Microsoft will launch and where other stores will be located.

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