Xbox due, Microsoft exits Sony-owned mall

The software titan plucks its Microsoft shop out of the Japanese company's Metreon shopping complex in San Francisco--a mall that features Sony's "PlayStation" store.

Microsoft and Sony may share the competitive stage in San Francisco, but certainly not under one roof.

With Microsoft's Xbox gaming system due out in two weeks, the software giant this week closed its retail store in San Francisco's Metreon center, according to a representative for the shopping mall. The building's landlord happens to be Sony, one of the leading video-game makers in the industry.

Located in the South of Market area, the high-tech themed shopping and entertainment complex features Sony's "PlayStation" store--billed on the mall's Web site as "the first, and only, completely hands-on game store."

Other tenants include the Discovery Channel Store; Portal One, a gaming-accessories store; and, until recently, MicrosoftSF, which the site still promotes as a place where "grown-ups can play the coolest games or get their hands on the newest hardware."

A new store, called Digital Solutions, will take the place of MicrosoftSF and will sell all kinds of digital products, according to a Metreon representative.

Microsoft said it had no plans to open another store in San Francisco.

"We are partnering with Sony on different things and will continue to do so, but we mutually agreed to close the store because it no longer fit the company's core business priorities," said a Microsoft representative.

The fact that the store closed shortly before Microsoft's Xbox is about to appear on the market to challenge Sony's PlayStation was purely coincidental, the Microsoft representative said.

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