Windows Phones at the Microsoft store.
Microsoft has recently announced that they plan to expand their range of Microsoft stores from the current 11 to 86 over the next 3 years.
The question of course is why Microsoft needs its own retail presence when its partners are selling hundreds of millions of Windows licenses and millions of Xbox and Kinect bundles.
The answer is that Microsoft wanted to control the presentation of their brand, which suffers from being associated with the majority of low-end PCs and laptops, rather than higher end devices, unlike Apple.
Of course Microsoft is not hurting in those particular areas, but one area where Microsoft is not doing that well is smartphone sales, with numerous stories of carrier sales people turning buyers away from Windows Phone 7 handsets.
Techflash.com reports that presenting Windows Phone 7 handsets at Microsoft stores has made at least one sale.
They spoke to Mel Bailet, a customer at a Microsoft outlet who had recently bought an Android smartphone but planned to return it after trying a Windows Phone 7 at the Microsoft Store.
"It’s a relief to be able to discuss problems with a knowledgeable company," Bailet said, adding that he liked the store.
Microsoft is likely hoping to hear a lot more stories like that with its store expansion plans, potentially providing the only friendly retail environment for their phones in an ever more Microsoft hostile world.
Read more about Microsoftâ€™s store plans at Techflash.com here .