Microsoft is considering opening stores in the UK next year, according to the Financial Times.
The software giant is hoping to emulate the success of its rival Apple, which opened its first store a decade ago and has demonstrated that its retail experience is just as important for building its brand as for pushing its products.
Microsoft is expected to open its flagship UK store in London, although the firm has yet to confirm. Anonymous sources are claiming that the company has been in talks with UK landlords. The proposed stores would add to its retail chain, which is currently based exclusively in North America and features 70 US stores.
There are also question marks over what it would sell in its stores, considering that a wide range of hardware manufacturers from Samsung to HTC produce laptops and phones running on Windows software.
A flagship store in Times Square, New York City, is dedicated wholly to the Surface tablet, carrying no products by manufacturers who are also making Windows 8 devices.
Microsoft may be trying to head in a different direction and capitalise on its recently released Windows 8 platform, which also features a raft of new Windows Phone 8 handsets and its first foray into the tablet market with its Surface with Windows RT hybrid.