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Microsoft opens first retail store to big crowds

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Seattle In an opening timed to coincide with the launch of its new operating system Windows 7, Microsoft opened its first freestanding retail on Thursday, in Scottsdale Fashion Square, Scottsdale, Ariz. Hundreds of people waited as long as 12 hours to get in, and a line almost a quarter of a mile in length remained hours after opening. A second store will open Oct. 29, in Mission Viejo, Calif.

Designed to give shoppers a more direct connection with the best of Microsoft and its partners, the new store offers a select line of laptops, netbooks, all-in-one PCs, Xbox consoles, Windows Mobile phones and what the company calls “one of the largest selections” of third-party software titles in any store.

“Our customers have told us they want choice, better value and great service when shopping for technology, and that is what we will deliver through our Microsoft stores,” says David Porter, corporate VP Microsoft Retail Stores. Porter, a 25-year Wal-Mart veteran, was hired by Microsoft in February to lead the effort.

According to Porter, the design of the stores is uniquely Microsoft, with four “zones” that focus on different types of technology experiences.

“We want to showcase what’s possible with the full Microsoft brand,” he said.

For more on the Microsoft store, and additional photos, click here.