New Orleans - Microsoft will open its first retail stores sometime this fall.
The long-anticipated move, announced by Microsoft COO Kevin Turner at the company's annual Worldwide Partner Conference here on Wednesday, coincides with the autumn release of its new Windows 7 operating system.
According to a report by ZDNet, Turner provided few details on the rollout, but said some locations would directly target Apple stores and that any insights gained from the shops would be shared with Microsoft's retail partners.
Microsoft's retail strategy gained momentum in February when the company hired former Wal-Mart and DreamWorks Animation executive David Porter to plan the rollout and to work with Microsoft retailers. Porter, who carries the title of retail stores VP, reports to Turner.
The company previously opened a 20,000-square-foot "experience" at its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., that houses a complete interactive store environment, from point of service to receiving dock. Microsoft said it opened the center to demonstrate how it and retailers can address rising consumer expectations and competitive pressures amid challenging economic conditions.