Microsoft Ready to Jump into the Retail Game

Microsoft is preparing to open its own retail stores to promote its own products and services, much like Apple has done with its successful Apple Store locations. The Redmond-based company hired former Wal-Mart and Dreamworks Animation executive, David Porter, to spearhead the project.

Mr. Porter will be responsible for deciding when and where Microsoft will open its stores.

Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said the company is "working hard to transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience at retail by improving the articulation and demonstration of the Microsoft innovation and value proposition so that it’s clear, simple and straightforward for consumers everywhere."

It's not clear what kind of impact Microsoft stores would have on the company's retail partners that are already selling products like Windows Vista and the Xbox gaming console. Considering how Microsoft's moves to change copy protection formats and launch its own portable media player have worked out for its partners, odds are they aren't overly happy with the news.

Microsoft has not said yet when it will open its first store.