Microsoft to open retail stores in Europe

Microsoft stores, which will sell Xbox 360 games, hardware and PC titles, are to be opened in major European cities such as London, according to gaming site MCV.

Neowin reported earlier this month that the stores, owned and operated by Microsoft, would be headed by David Porter - a 25-year veteran of retail giant, Wal-Mart.

The move is often seen as an attempt to compete with Apple, who opened their first retail store in 2001 and now has some 251 stores Worldwide, although Sony's Sony Centres would also provide another competitor for Microsoft's retail stores.

A Redmond-based source told MCV, "Porter and his newly created retail stores team will drive the planning and timing of store locations. Our target is a small number of high profile experience stores in a few major cities around the world."

"Our main objective is to change the buying experience for consumers around the world – to show and demonstrate Microsoft's key consumer products in a deeper and more meaningful way, making it more simple and easy for consumers to purchase PCs and devices that truly meet their specific needs."

Some people have expressed concerns over how this move will affect Microsoft's relationship with retailers, however Microsoft believes they will benefit from the opening of official Microsoft stores.

"The partnerships we have today with retailers around the world will continue to be an important focus area for the company and will benefit from these efforts. One of the goals of opening Microsoft stores is to better engage with consumers and gain a better understanding of the consumer PC and device purchase experience. We expect to apply these learnings across our existing retail relationships as well as in our own stores."

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