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October 21st, 2009Microsoft To Leap Back Into Retail This Week

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by Kevin McLaughlin

Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) will open its first retail store in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Oct. 22 — the same day it launches Windows 7 — making its return to the bricks-and-mortar world after a decade’s absence.

According to a recent advertisement in The Arizona Republic, the launch event at the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall will include a performance by pop star Ashley Tisdale, and the first 1,000 visitors will receive concert tickets and a gift bag. Microsoft is also dishing up some grand opening special offers, with customers that buy new PCs receiving a free HP-D 1660 printer or a free copy of Office Home & Student edition.

In July, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner vowed that Microsoft would open some retail stores “right next door” to Apple stores, but the Scottsdale location doesn’t fit this description. However, Microsoft’s Mission Viejo store, which will be located at the Shops At Mission Viejo mall, will at least be within the same complex.

Regardless of where they’re located, Microsoft’s retail stores are opening in a climate of extraordinarily weak PC demand. But in addition to Windows 7 PCs, the Arizona store will also reportedly feature mobile phones running Microsoft software and Xbox 360 game consoles, as well as a massive 94-inch video screen, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft in August posted several job listings, including sales, customer service, and technical advisory positions, most of which required applicants to be able to lift at least 50 pounds, which suggests that these will be more than just places to showcase Microsoft Research projects.

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