Microsoft is planning to open four new stores over the coming months, with the first international stores due later this year. That's the word according to one person familiar with the company's plans. The software giant will open a brand new store in Palo Alto, California and one in Austin, Texas, and both stores will open during April and be near to Apple retail store locations in popular malls. Microsoft is also planning to open two new stores in the state of New Jersey, one in Bridgewater and the other in Freehold. We're told that the New Jersey stores will also be be located in malls with Apple stores, and both are expected to launch before the end of June.

Microsoft's Kevin Turner revealed last July that the company plans to open up 75 new stores over the next two years, but didn't mention any non-domestic stores. We are hearing that Microsoft is planning to open one of its first international stores in Canada later this year. The store, located in Toronto, should launch shortly before the holidays, and will be joined by at least one other international store. Although the plans are a number of months away and could change at any point, we have been informed that Microsoft is planning other international stores, starting with launches in early 2013.