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Early Microsoft store plans leaked

Microsoft representative confirms retail plans posted on Gizmodo are genuine, but says they are early plans shared with creative agencies and that no decisions have been made.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried

Microsoft confirmed late on Friday that store plans posted on Gizmodo are genuine, but represent the company's early thinking and that no final decisions have been made on how the company's retail stores will look when the first ones open this fall.

The designs, which include a giant video wall, Surface computers, and an "answer bar" were leaked to the gadget site, which wrote about them earlier Friday.

"As a part of our process in briefing creative agencies, we shared some early prototypes and concepts of our retail store plans," a Microsoft representative said in a statement to CNET News. "No final decisions have been made. As we previously announced, we are on track to open retail stores this fall.

As I noted last week, Microsoft plans to start with just a few stores this year with more to open in 2010. At least some of those locations will be in close proximity to Apple stores.

Microsoft first announced its plan to enter the retail arena in February, when it hired David Porter, a Wal-Mart veteran.

At last week's Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner (also a Wal-Mart veteran) said to "stay tuned" for more news on the retail front.

"We're going to have some retail stores opened up that are opened up right next door to Apple stores this fall," he said. "Stay tuned, just stay tuned."