The stores, the brainchild of former long-time Walmart (WMT) executive David Porter, who was brought on board in 2009, number 101 in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Microsoft has 58 full-line retail stores and 43 "specialty stores." According to Microsoft, its specialty stores are located in malls across the U.S. and Canada and are typically a smaller footprint than full-line stores, are located in central locations in the mall and and offer a curated assortment of products.
Microsoft has roughly 36% fewer locations in the U.S. than Apple (AAPL).
Microsoft doesn't have retail stores in key international growth markets. Apple, on the other hand, is coordinating a serious push into countries like China, where it reportedly will open 20 more stores though 2016.
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What Microsoft lacks in the number of locations, it makes up in store design. In many respects, a Microsoft store at New York's Roosevelt Field Mall represents the retail store of the future, lending way to unique customer interactions with products and services in immersive digital environments. The experiences inside the store are very easy to share via social media as well -- think Vine videos of children playing an Xbox One game, which are then posted on Twitter (TWTR), helping to create grassroots discussions on Microsoft products and services.