Many of the Microsoft stores will open up right near Apple stores to compete with the popular Apple retail chains. Microsoft is slow to get into the market of having its own retail chain, which will sell all of their own products, much like Sony and Apple currently do.
Not many details have been released on what the store will contain or what type of hardware, if any, they will make available for sale. Microsoft's strategy is to open retail chains in locations currently occupied by Apple stores to better compete with them, including a rumor about Microsoft looking into opening a chain in Times Square, New York back in 2005. The retail chains will be able to directly assist customers with their Microsoft purchases, rather than having large retail chains like Bestbuy sell Microsoft products.
The stores will be headed by a former DreamWorks Animation and Wal-Mart executive, David Porter. There isn't any set dates on when the stores will launch this fall season, but it would be a safe bet to say that they will be open in time for the release of Microsoft's next operating system, Windows 7.