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Despite economic crisis and collapse of leading tech retail chains, the world’s largest developer of software plans to create its own worldwide chain of retail stores.

It is not a secret that Microsoft Corp. is not a pure software company: the firm competes with Apple for the market of portable digital media players and supporting services, the company rivals Sony and Nintendo in video game console business, Microsoft also produces keyboards and pointing devices and thus competes with Logitech. It is very likely that in future the lineup of hardware from Microsoft will expand: there are rumours about own-brand smartphone from Microsoft.

In order to be more competitive against its rivals in the hardware business as well as in the light of the fact that major retailers in the U.S. have become victims of economic crisis, Microsoft plans to open a chain of its own retail stores. Besides getting new sales channels, own chain of retail stores will help the company to create deeper engagement with consumers and continue to learn firsthand about what they want and how they buy.

“This is an exciting time with our strong lineup of upcoming product releases including Windows 7 and new releases of Windows Live and Windows Mobile. We’re also 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,” said Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner.

Microsoft on Friday announced that David Porter will join the company as corporate vice president of retail stores. He will lead Microsoft’s efforts to create a better PC and Microsoft retail purchase experience for consumers worldwide through the development and opening of the company’s own retail stores. Mr. Porter will report to Microsoft chief operating officer.

Defining the time frame, locations and specifics for planned Microsoft-branded retail stores will be Mr. Porter’s first order of business.

“There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for our customers. I am excited about helping consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases, and we’ll share learnings from our stores with our existing retail and OEM partners that are critical to our success,” said David Porter.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Xbox, Zune

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