Microsoft to Cease Fire in Retail War With Apple

iPhone maker announces it will open 50 new stores as Microsoft says it will take a wait-and-see approach with its own stores

By Sajid Farooq
|  Friday, Nov 13, 2009  |  Updated 3:17 PM PDT
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Microsoft is not as excited as it once was to become Apple's neighbor.

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A wait and see approach may not be good enough if Microsoft wants to move in "right next door to Apple" stores.

Starting next year, Apple will have 50 new neighborhoods for Microsoft to move into. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said it plans to open up to 50 new stores in 2010 less than a month after Microsoft opened its first two stores in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mission Viejo, Calif.

In July Microsoft's chief operating officer Kevin Turner famously said his company would open stores "right next door to Apple" and it was in the retail business "game for the long-term." The company even hired a former Gap executive who helped launch Apple's iconic stores.

But since the summer Microsoft has tuned its ambitions down a notch as it has no plans to react to Apple's aggressive expansion announcement.

"For now, though, we will open these first two stores, listen to and learn from consumers, evolve the model, and open additional stores as quickly as it makes business sense,"  a Microsoft representative told eWeek.

Apple already has close to 300 stores across the world and it plans to do most of its expansion overseas, including a store in London and two more in Shanghai, according to Reuters.

The iPhone maker is also reportedly working on flagship store to open in the Louvre, the iconic Paris art museum. Soon Mona Lisa and the iPhone will be housed under one -- albeit large -- roof.

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