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Will Microsoft's Stores Be More Like Apple's or Gateway's?

Naturally, Microsoft-at-the-mall has led to plenty of wisecracks and skepticism, much of it understandable. Why? Because unlike Apple, Microsoft sells many of its most profitable products to consumers indirectly. If you buy a PC, you get Windows (unless you buy a Mac). Microsoft Office? Perhaps it came preinstalled on your PC. Or maybe you've used Office at work for years and figured you might as well buy it for the home too.

In other words, you're not crazy about Microsoft products. You're comfortable with them. Or maybe you don't like them, but you use them anyway.

Which leads me to wonder: Will Microsoft's shops succeed? Will they be wildly successful like the Apple Store, or a retail fiasco like the Gateway Country store?

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