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Microsoft Opens First New Retail Store in Scottsdale, Arizona

Corresponding with today's launch of Windows 7, Microsoft opened the first of its new retail stores today in Scottsdale, Arizona. Reports that Microsoft has drawn heavily on Apple's retail store concepts appear to be accurate, with the store featuring wood floors and tables, a relatively sparse layout designed to accommodate large crowds, and an "Answer Bar" to provide support for Windows users.

A video of the grand opening reveals additional similarities to Apple's model, with Microsoft retail employees wearing t-shirts in various bold colors lining up and cheering as customers enter the store for the first time.

Microsoft has announced that it is targeting Apple's retail stores with its new venture, planning to open many of the new stores in close proximity to existing Apple stores. A second store is scheduled to open in Mission Viejo, California next week Thursday, with more locations in the works.

The company hired former Apple real estate chief George Blankenship as a consultant to assist with planning for its retail store initiative and has also attempted to poach Apple's own store employees in order to hit the ground running with experienced staff members already in place.