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I judge the Microsoft store a success after hanging out at the grand opening of their Scottsdale store a few days ago (pics below).

You can play with dozens of the latest desktops, laptops and netbooks, see every conceivable monitor, satisfy your ZuneHD lust, talk to the experts at the Apple Genius Bar ripoff, play the most popular games and generally leave feeling Microsoft is a bit hipper than when you entered.

Are they eight years behind Apple (first Apple store opening: May 15, 2001)?  To the subset of the 8% of the U.S. population who own an Apple computer who are Apple hardcore fans, absolutely.  To the rest of us, we’ll feel a bit better toward Microsoft than when we entered.

It’s an expensive path to repairing a brand image, but smart all the same (branding as theater).  It’s fun to be in the store.  I want to go back.  Plus I got a cool Bing T-shirt.  🙂

So, late or not, ahead or behind the curve, it doesn’t matter, what is your Microsoft store?  That experience you create for the people you want to attract that makes them feel a bit better about you than they felt before?