updated 11:05 pm EDT, Sun July 17, 2011
Microsoft to open store in McLean near Apple
Microsoft's policy of shadowing Apple in its retail openings will reach a symbolic high in the near future as the company plans to open a location near Apple's very first opened store. New job listings have been asking for staff for a Microsoft store in McLean, Virginia. The Windows developer hasn't outlined a location but is likely to try for the Tysons Corner Center given its pattern of trying to get as close as possible to wherever Apple's shops are located.
The company hasn't given hints as to when the store will open, though new leaks to WinRumors have an announcement within a few weeks. Doors should open before the end of the year.
An opening in the area would be unusual for Microsoft, which still has most of the Eastern US coast virtually unserved and major cities in other areas still untapped. The decision to open in McLean is likely just to ensure that Apple's 10th retail anniversary doesn't go without a Microsoft answer. Although two Apple stores opened the same day on May 19, 2001, the McLean store was the first to open because of its time zone. Apple's retail strategy is widely credited with its return to form and a degree of the erosion of Microsoft's US dominance, since users could avoid then Mac-hostile retail chains and eventually try devices like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad first hand in ideal conditions.
Once characterized as a retail experiment, Microsoft's retail store openings are due to grow in a volume that now makes it clear the company plans to compete directly with Apple as well as many of its own retail partners. A full 75 new stores are due to open within the next two to three years, many of which will target Apple-friendly states like California and New York.