Microsoft’s forthcoming Scottsdale, Arizona retail store’s “spacious floor plan will showcase everything from laptops running Windows 7 to mobile phones running Microsoft software to Xbox 360 game consoles, which customers will be able to play on a 94-inch screen in the store,” Nick Wingfield reports for The Wall Street Journal, citing “a person familiar with the matter.”

“Microsoft also expects to open a second store in a mall in Mission Viejo, Calif., in the next few weeks, with plans to slowly roll out more if the first ones are successful,” Wingfield reports.

“The stores are a clear nod to Apple Inc.’s success in retail. They also underscore the lengths to which Microsoft is willing to go to connect with consumers after stumbling in recent years with products such as Windows Vista, an operating system plagued by early technical problems that helped Apple gain ground with the Macintosh,” Wingfield reports.

“Entering the retail business is riskier for Microsoft than it was for Apple. While Apple had fewer potential business conflicts because it had such weak support from retailers when it opened its first store in 2001, Microsoft depends on existing partners in the retail business that could be threatened by the company’s expansion into their turf,” Wingfield reports. “Microsoft’s hardware partners could also be angered by its decisions about which devices to stock and which to exclude from its store shelves.”

Wingfield reports, “The most eye-catching element of Microsoft’s store designs is likely to be the wall-sized high-definition screens, according to someone who has seen them. Laptops, mobile phones, Zunes and other devices will be arranged on spacious tables inside the stores.”

MacDailyNews Take: So, portable PCs with an inferior OS (hopefully with industrial-strength antivirus and malware prevention software, not that it’ll work), WinMo 6.5 mobile phones that nobody wants, Zunes that nobody wants, and Xboxes red-ringing themselves to death. Enticing.

Wingfield continues, “The store will also have a counter, akin to the Genius Bars in Apple stores, where people will be able to bring products powered by Microsoft software for technical help, said a person familiar with the matter.”

MacDailyNews Take: That’ll be one busy Genius Bar, er… whatever they’re going to call it. “Dweeb Counter?”

Wingfield continues, “Microsoft has recruited a handful of employees from rival Apple stores. A former Apple executive, George Blankenship, who helped Apple launch its stores has also consulted with Microsoft on its retail plans, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Unsurprisingly, Microsoft doesn’t get it. They really seem to believe that people actually want to use their Windows and Office products, but most just feel forced to use them or actually are forced to use them. Then they have the Zune failure, the Xbox which is a horribly-built perpetual money loser, and WinMo the laughingstock – which is what the company has been for years now under Ballmer the Clown. These stores are a joke, too.