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Microsoft's first store outside of North America to open in Australia

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New location opens later this year

Microsoft is planning to open its first flagship retail store outside of North America later this year. The software giant is opening a new store in Sydney, Australia with a similar layout to its existing stores in the US and Canada. Microsoft has been gradually expanding its footprint of brick and mortar stores across the US and Canada, with 110 in total. The new Australian store will be located at Westfield Sydney on Pitt Street Mall, and will include access to Windows phones, PCs, Surface tablets, Xbox consoles, and all of Microsoft's software products. While the company isn't revealing exactly when the store will open, it's planned for later this year.

Microsoft's store expansions are largely on pace with plans it shared nearly four years ago. This marks the first major expansion outside of the US and Canada, and it could pave the way for the company to move into Europe and elsewhere. Microsoft has online stores in 189 countries, and 17 store-in-store locations in China, so the company is no stranger to providing its software and services through its own store efforts. While the expansion has been gradual, Microsoft still has a long way to go if it wants to catch Apple. There's more than 450 Apple Stores worldwide, with more than 260 in the US alone.