Microsoft is likely to court criticism with the news that its new retail store at Minneapolis' Mall of America is directly opposite an existing Apple store. Pioneer Press have been down to scope out the storefront, and say that it's roughly twice as wide and significantly deeper than Apple's retail presence in the mall.
There's no official opening date listed for the new store, just that it's "coming soon", but the Windows Phone 7 graphics on the hoardings do suggest it will be up and running in time for the new smartphone platform's launch. That's expected to take place in the US in November.
Critics are already circling, and indeed Pioneer Press describes Microsoft as "a notorious imitator of all things Apple." Frankly, we've never thought Apple shied away from taking on Microsoft, and the proximity of the two stores - which, cutting through the fanboy appeal of seeing each as some sort of tech-Mecca, are basically ways for consumers to experience the two largest platforms in computing today - is only really a good thing for would-be buyers hoping to compare and contrast the best on offer.