Rumours that Microsoft was planning to open a string of Apple-eqsue retail stores selling all things Microsoft have circulated for a while but have finally been put to rest. With the appointment of ex-Wal-Mart executive David Porter as Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Retail Stores, the company has confirmed suspicions that it will, indeed, be bulding Microsoft-branded shops.
The appointment follows the debut of an online Microsoft store photos released of what were then considered proof-of-concept physical shops. Of course now those look more like template designs for a Microsoft entry into brick and mortar retail.
To what scale Microsoft will be creating its retail network is unknown as yet. It seems fairly likely that the company will want to compete with the like of Apple and have, if not a multinational presence, at least a large national one. Certainly Microsoft makes enough software, peripherals and other hardware to fill a decent sized shop floor with products.
We'll have to wait and see if the UK is graced with such a presence.