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Friday, February 13, 2009
Microsoft to Open Own Retail Stores

Microsoft announced plans Thursday to open its own chain of branded stores as it looks to catch up with rival Apple's successful move into retailing.

The company did not say how many stores it was looking to open, or when, or which of its products would be on sale.

That is to be decided by David Porter, a former DreamWorks Animation executive, which Microsoft named as its new vice president of retail stores.

"I am delighted to welcome David to Microsoft," Turner said. "This is an exciting time with our strong lineup of upcoming product releases including Windows 7 and new releases of Windows Live and Windows Mobile. We?re also working hard to transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience at retail by improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition so that it?s clear, simple and straightforward for consumers everywhere. David?s unique and diverse background, coupled with his deep retail roots and distribution understanding, will be an invaluable asset in this long-term effort."

"There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for our customers," Porter said. "I am excited about helping consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases, and we?ll share learnings from our stores with our existing retail and OEM partners that are critical to our success."

The long-rumored move to open stores comes as consumer spending is under severe pressure due to the recession.

Microsoft, bruised by the poor reception of its latest Vista operating system, is facing increased competition from Apple, which is eating into the personal computer market and dominates the personal digital music player market with its iPod line.

Apple's stylish stores, now numbering more than 200 worldwide, have been crucial in attracting customers in recent years.

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