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Apple Store's new Fifth Avenue neighbor: Microsoft

Microsoft has found a home in the Big Apple for showcasing its products and services, just five blocks south of Apple's own flagship store.

Microsoft will launch its new flagship store in Manhattan on Monday.
Sarah Tew/CNET

NEW YORK -- The Fifth Avenue Apple store, known as the Cube, is a destination for gadget enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Just five blocks south on the famed roadway, Microsoft is hoping to capture that same chic with a flagship store of its own.

The Redmond, Washington, tech giant will open the doors to its newest, and biggest, store on Monday. To attract crowds, the company is offering tickets at the grand opening for a concert later that evening with rapper Pitbull.

The Microsoft store is the latest attempt by the company to build a stronger relationship with consumers and to bring back some excitement to its products and services. After years of letting its hardware partners sell products running its software, Microsoft is looking to have a more direct hand in pushing Windows 10 to consumers.

Customers walking into the space, which was previously occupied by Italian fashion retailer Fendi, will immediately see the latest products from Microsoft. The first two tables display the Surface Book, the much buzzed-about laptop-tablet combination the company showed off earlier this month, as well as the Surface Pro 4, the updated version of its work-friendly tablet.

Beyond size and a second level, Microsoft's newest store is similar to the rest of the more than 110 Microsoft shops in North America. There's a lot of space and many bright lights, along with areas devoted to different facets of Windows 10, from products created by its hardware partners to Microsoft smartphones to its Xbox One video game console. Tech support can be found upstairs, along with two spaces for classes and workshops that deal with Windows 10 devices and software.

The highlight of the shop is an eye-catching 30-foot promotional display made up of 36 screens packed tightly together. That's flanked by an array of displays that run along each side of the store and show off Microsoft products. They could also be used to stream local community events such as a parade in Times Square, according to the store's senior manager, Bill Madden.

The new store is also the only Microsoft outlet to feature the company's massive Surface Hub touchscreen display.

Outside, the store's facade features a "culture wall." In the evenings it will show digital works by local artists, though the company hasn't nailed down the details of the art that will be displayed.

Given the high-profile location, the store will serve more as a kind of interactive billboard than a simple retail outlet. Madden declined to comment on any expectations of how much revenue the store will generate.