posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Jul 2009 21:52 UTC
IconAs Microsoft had already confirmed, it's going to open a line of retail stores later this year. Last week, Gizmodo published a set of detailed slides supposedly detailing the shopping experience Microsoft is going to implement. Today, Microsoft has confirmed those leaked plans are real (but not finalised!), while also announcing the first two store locations.

The shops will have a digital media wall which will wrap around the entire store, showing various messages and other information. There will - obviously - be lots of Surface Computing tables, a Genius Bar clone, and staging areas for Windows 7, Windows Media Center, the XBox, and Windows Mobile and netbooks.

As for the overall layout of the stores, Microsoft is very honest and open about where the drew their inspiration from: Nike, Nokia, Sony, Apple and AT&T. Of course, a retail store is a retail store, and there are only so many things you can do in a store. Aside from Microsoft products (both hardware and software), the stores will also carry products from other companies, such as brand-name computers and 3rd party software. Oh, you can have your birthday party in a Microsoft Store. I... Well.

The first Microsoft stores will open in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Mission Viejo, California, Microsoft confirmed to CNet. "Over a billion people use our products every day yet we don't always have a way to directly connect with them," said Microsoft spokeswoman Kim Stocks, "We see the physical stores, as well as a consistent online experience, helping that." There are plans to go global as well.

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