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Microsoft To Open Manhattan Flagship

New York – Microsoft said it will open a retail store in Manhattan that will serve as its first flagship location.

No timetable was given for the opening.

The shop will be located at 677 Fifth Ave. at 53rd St., five blocks south of Apple’s de facto flagship store. The company has already signed a lease for the space, which is currently occupied by a Fendi boutique.

In a company blog, Microsoft worldwide retail stores corporate VP David Porter said the New York flagship was “five years in the making,” after opening its first location in Oct. 2009 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Microsoft maintains a smaller “curated” shop in Manhattan’s nearby Time Warner Center, and another in the Staten Island Mall.

The vendor currently operates 104 retail stores in total in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, plus in-store shops in China and online stores in 189 countries.

Porter said the company will open 10 more brick-and-mortar stores in time for the holiday season.

The retail stores serve as a showcase for Windows computers, tablets and phones and Microsoft’s Xbox game consoles and Surface tablets. They also provide technical support and training, and host community events.

The company typically donates over $1 million in technology grants to local youth organizations with the opening of each new store.

CE vendors have a mixed track record in retail. While Apple and Bose (Nos. 4 and 28 on TWICE’s Top 100 CE Retailers ranking) remain the channel’s shining stars, and Microsoft continues its brick-and-mortar build-out, Sony retrenched its store base earlier this year and past U.S. pilots by Dell, Nokia and Pioneer were scrapped.