Microsoft will have 44 retail stores in place by the end of its fiscal 2013, which means by the end of June 2013, officials said on July 11.
A year ago, Microsoft officials said that Microsoft planned to open 75 new Microsoft Stores in the subsequent two to three years. Apple currently has more than 300 retail stores worldwide.
Microsoft Stores sell Windows PCs, Windows Phones, Microsoft and third-party software, games, peripherals and more. Microsoft also is going to sell its recently announced Surface PC/tablets through its Microsoft Stores in the U.S. and through select online Microsoft stores, as well.
Microsoft officially announced its retail-store launch plan back in February 2009. At that time, the company appointed David Porter (a former Dreamworks Animation and Wal-mart exec) as Corporate Vice President of Retail Stores. Microsoft’s strategy has been to open its stores as close to Apple stores as possible as it expands its retail presence.
Microsoft Stores will be going into Puerto Rico and Canada this year. (According to Microsoft's job site, they'll be in San Juan and Toronto.) This holiday, on heels of Windows 8 launch, there will be "holiday pop up stores throughout," Kevin Turner, Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer told partners attending the Worldwide Partner Conference on July 11.
The "Microsoft Store brand will become more pervasive and go out into the world," Turner said.
Turner, as he does every year at the partner conference, worked to pump up the attendees about Microsoft's coming fiscal year. He did his usual competitive bashing, taking aim at Apple, Google, Oracle, VMware and other Microsoft rivals. But he also made a few other pronoucements, including:
* Office 365 is on the way to surpassing SharePoint as the fastest selling Microsoft product ever. This could happen by next year, Turner said.
* There will be no further extensions on support for Windows XP (in case you were still holding out hope). No more security updates will be released for XP as of April 8, 2014, as Microsoft officials have said previously.
* Office 365 wins are so critical for Microsoft's enterprise future that Turner himself will intervene when needed to secure a deal.
* Microsoft's updated charter: Providing Continuous cloud service for every person, every device, and every business