In Risky Move, Microsoft to Open NYC Flagship Right Near Apple's

A Microsoft store is coming to Fifth Avenue.

While the company currently has more than 100 retail stores in North America, its Fifth Avenue location will be its first in Manhattan, the company confirmed to The Wall Street Journal.

"As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience," David Porter, corporate vice president for Microsoft retail stores, wrote in a blog post. "This is a goal we've had since day one—we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it."

The location is expensive, prestigious and certainly makes a statement. It's also just a few blocks away from Apple's flagship New York store, where lines for new Apple product launches often run blocks deep.

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For a company often accused of being perpetually late to the game, Microsoft's decision to open its Manhattan flagship store a few blocks away from Apple's flagship, which opened over eight years ago, is an interesting choice.

Since Microsoft opened its first retail location in 2009, the software company has been steadily ramping up the number of physical stores it operates. While a large percentage of what Microsoft sells are services, not physical items, customers can purchase products such as Surface Pro, Windows Phones, Xbox One at its retail stores, as well as visit a "help desk" (pretty much the equivalent of Apple's "genius bar").

Still, in this respect, Microsoft is chasing Apple, which opened its first retail store in 2001 and currently has more than 250 stores in the U.S. alone.

No word yet on when we can expect the Fifth Avenue location to open, but the company will launch new retail stores in Toronto, Tulsa, OK Bethesda, MD and Cerritos, CA before the year's end.

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