Sorry Scottsdale, the prize for the first Microsoft store location to open its doors goes to... the internet? Moving beyond their own branded products, Microsoft has started hawking other companies' Windows-friendly wares online, from laptops to Photoshop to PC accessories.
This is effectively an extension of their brick-and-mortar retail push (or is it the other way around?) which will also include third-party hardware, software, and accessories compatible with Windows, and particularly Windows 7. The first round of hardware for sale is heavy on laptops and netbooks, with Dell, Sony, Lenovo, HP and Acer portables all making appearances—basically, a similar lineup to what you'd see at any Best Buy.
This makes a lot of sense for Microsoft, who's watched Apple do pretty, pretty well with a broad, inclusive online store, but who couldn't cash in on a similar concept without their own hardware as an anchor. It's the same direction they're taking with Windows Phone: In liew of Microsoft hardware, they're just drawing others under the Microsoft tent with blanket branding and Microsoft-centric marketing. In other words, to the customer, it may as well be Microsoft hardware. [Beyond Binary]