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Microsoft chooses Australia for first store outside North America

As it expands its online presence to more than 189 countries, Microsoft has announced it will open its first retail store outside North America in Sydney, Australia.

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A recent Microsoft Store opening in Georgia in the United States. Microsoft

Microsoft has announced the location for its first branded Microsoft Store outside North America, confirming that it will be opening up shop in Australia.

The Redmond-based tech giant already has a strong presence in North America with more than 110 physical stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and maintains 17 store-in-store locations in China. However, the brand is yet to push out beyond these markets.

Microsoft says the new Sydney, Australia shopfront will lead the brand's push into the Asia Pacific region as the 'centrepiece' of its retail presence in the region.

The new flagship store will be located in Westfield Sydney -- one of the leading retail precincts in Australia's biggest city, fronting on to the busy Pitt Street Mall and around the corner from Australia's flagship Apple and Samsung stores. It will also be located next door to another recent US import -- leading cosmetic brand Sephora's first Australian store.

Alongside Windows PCs, Surface devices, Windows Phones, Xbox consoles and Office products, the store will also feature Microsoft's answer to the Genius bar -- a "one-stop shop for questions, troubleshooting, repairs and support" known as the Answer Desk.

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Blue-shirted Microsoft staff fill the shop floor. Microsoft

Microsoft Australia managing director Pip Marlow also noted in a blog post on the Microsoft website that the Sydney flagship "will be much more than a store."

"We will regularly donate volunteer hours, host community events, offer training workshops, support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and build deeper relationships with our customers, one person at a time," Marlow said.

"The space will be as much a place for engaging experiences as it is a retail store. It will complement our excellent retail partner network and be a natural extension of our existing online store."

With an online presence across 189 countries and plans to expand online into South Africa, Thailand and Korea over the next year, David Porter, corporate vice president of worldwide retail stores for Microsoft, said in a press release the Sydney store would be an "important milestone" in the brand's global expansion.

The Sydney Microsoft Store will be spread over two floors with more than 6,000 square feet of retail space, and is expected to open in "late 2015" before Christmas.