Microsoft is trying its hand in the retail arena by opening its first store in Scottsdale, Arizona, with its 2nd store opening Oct. 29th in Mission Viejo, CA. Microsoft believes retail is an opportunity to connect with customers and elevate the brand.  It is also a way to keep up with the success Apple is having with their retail stores.

The Microsoft stores will feature interactive technology and a sleek, modern design.  There will be massive LCD screens lining the walls displaying scenic panoramas with PCs set up below featuring Zunes, Xbox consoles and headphones all available for consumers to try out.  Microsoft is emphasizing that these stores will offer personalization and customization of hardware with external “skins” and will also create an original ring tone for their Windows mobile phone.  If customers purchase a computer, they will have a 15-minute session with an employee to set up their applications, passwords and personal preferences.  And just like their Apple Store competitors, Microsoft will include a Microsoft Answers Suite, featuring Technical Advisors to offer assistance to those with technical issues.

Although most experts acknowledge that this move by Microsoft is just another way Microsoft is copying Apple, it is a much needed move.  For more information about the Scottsdale and Mission Viejo stores, go to: http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/strategy/e3id86c4bbb8dc2dcc79b9ddad2aef22f1c

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