In the race for flashy technology retail locations, Apple is clearly winning. With stores located in 13 different countries, including 51 locations within the state of California alone, the technological giant is dominating Microsoft, which only has 19 stores total, all within the United States.
According to a piece in the Toronto Star, Microsoft will open its first retail store outside of the U.S. at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The local paper notes that the Seattle-based technology company has been approved through building permit notices to open the store in the shopping center, though Microsoft has refused to comment on any of this information.
On top of the possible opening in Canada, which is expected to occur sometime during the coming holiday season, it was also reported on technology publication The Verge's website that Microsoft is preparing to launch a retail store in the United Kingdom by March 2013.
While neither of these potential store openings have been commented on by Microsoft, many are not surprised by this. As Mary-Jo Foley, Microsoft blogger for the website ZDNet has noted, store-related announcements are usually made at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, which - interestingly enough - is July 8 to 12 in Toronto.
At last year's Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft's chief operating officer Kevin Turner announced that the company planned to open 75 new retail stores over the next two years. And it seems Microsoft is making headway in this department, with a new store opening in Danbury, Conn. this past weekend and seven more stores listed on Microsoft Store's website as "coming soon."
However, the Star article questions how much of an impact the new Microsoft store in Canada will have on the international market since the company is already so far behind Apple on this front. Even with the opening of a Microsoft store in Canada and the UK, the company will still be 22 and 32 stores behind Apple, respectively, in those countries.
News of Microsoft's possible store openings comes on the heels of the company acquiring Yammer, an enterprise social networking site, for $1.2 billion. According to a press release on the acquisition, Yammer, which has over 5 million corporate users and touts more than 85 percent of employees from Fortune 500 companies, will be placed in the Microsoft Office Division.