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Microsoft to open own retail stores

Microsoft Corp. On Thursday announced plans to open its own stores despite the economic downturn that has left many retailers struggling.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2009 13:53 IST

Microsoft Corp. On Thursday announced plans to open its own stores despite the economic downturn that has left many retailers struggling.

The company hired David Porter, a 25-year veteran of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., as its corporate vice president of retail stores. Porter was head of worldwide product distribution at DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. Since 2007.

Porter, who is set to start work on Tuesday, is charged with improving the PC buying experience. The company said his first task will be to set the timing, locations and design of Microsoft branded retail stores, which will sell computers installed with Microsoft software as well as other company products.

Microsoft has been working to revive the image of its ubiquitous Windows operating system, starting with a $300 million advertising campaign that began last fall.

Vista, the most recent version of the software, was widely criticized for being slow, requiring new and pricer hardware, and not working with devices like printers and scanners. Vista has also been the subject of a series of snarky television ads from Apple Inc.

At the same time it launched upbeat new TV ads last fall, some of which struck right back at Apple, Microsoft posted 144 of its own employees in electronics chain stores around the world to talk with shoppers about Windows.