One thing bothers me
Well, okay, several things do. But WRT this, I don't see the point.
I was skeptical when Apple opened their stores, but I could see the point. The shopping experiences in Apple retailers wasn't good. The local outfit was fine, but in other places I'd lived/visited, it was like pulling hen's teeth to get questions asked, to try out the latest equipment or models, etc. The big box retailers were, if anything, worse. Often you'd go into CompUSSR and the Macs were old models, broken, and generally looked like they'd been treated like an ex-husband. Meanwhile, the sales people were on commission from HP, Dell, etc, and would steer customers away from any Apple product.
So Apple having the stores, where you could see the latest and greatest hardware and software, with friendly trained staff and a genius bar to answer your questions, made sense. The customer channels weren't doing their job. IIRC, they hired someone from The Gap to create the sort of store that was inviting and enhanced the purchasing/browsing experience. Apple stores are inviting, well laid-out, and aren't crammed with product. They are sometimes crammed with customers, but hey, nice problem to have, right?
MS has hired an executive from WalMart. Before the economic issues, WalMart was in trouble because people were getting fed up with their experience their (long lines, no layaway, unhelpful staff, etc) that they were willing to pay more to go elsewhere. And WalMart's customer base isn't one that is generally willing to spend more money for the same product. So I don't expect the shopping experience to be on par with Apple's.
And this isn't even getting into what MS is saying to Best Buy, HP, Dell, Sony, etc; what products they're going to display; or how MS is more business-oriented than consumer-oriented. They may succeed, but I have more serious doubts about this than I did about Apple's foray into retail. Then again, no one asked me.