Microsoft's expansion into the brick and mortar retail market has been slow but steady. The company has just under 20 stores in the U.S. since the launch of Windows 7 and today it emerged that the software giant has plans to take the Microsoft Store concept overseas.
According to a report in the Verge, Microsoft will open its first UK location in the spring of next year. Set to launch in March of 2013, the Verge cites sources familiar with the company's plans that say Microsoft has chosen London as the location for the store. The news follows Microsoft's decision to register in the United Kingdom as its own private limited company. Microsoft's retail expansion also includes additional locations in the United States, as well as Canada. Canada's first Microsoft Store will be at Toronto's Yorkdale Mall.
Microsoft uses its retail locations to connect with customers as well as sell both hardware and software. Rather significantly, Microsoft's recently announced Surface tablets will only be available through the company's own retail locations and online channels. So, while you may scoff at the idea of a Microsoft Store that sells the same items you can easily get at Best Buy or another wide-spread chain, you'll have to visit the Microsoft Store if you want to go hands on with the Surface.