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First look: Microsoft Manhattan flagship

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Microsoft Corp. has opened its first Manhattan flagship, within blocks of its major competitor.

The new Microsoft store is located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street, just several blocks away from Apple's Manhattan flagship with its famed glass cube entry. Microsoft has been planning the five-floor, 22,369-sq.-ft. store for more than six years.

"One of our goals, since we started the stores in 2009, was to have a real marquee location where we could bring an expanded retail presence," said Kelly Soligon, general manager, worldwide marketing, Microsoft Retail and Online Stores.

The new flagship is the company's largest store to date. It is designed to offer a vibrant shopping experience that immerses customers in the company's tech offerings.

The store, designed in collaboration with Gensler, has a striking, all-glass facade that provides passers-by a full view of the contemporary interior. An exterior digital wall, 40 ft. wide by 20 ft. high, displays artistic imagery that complements the building's architecture and facade.

The interior showcases Microsoft's full lineup of products and services, including the first-ever in-store display for Microsoft Surface Hub.

"The larger footprint means a deeper customer experience of Microsoft's ecosystem in what we consider to be one of the greatest shopping districts in the world," Soligon said.

The store's highlights include an in-store Dell Experience shop offering a full range of products built with Microsoft technology. The "Answer Desk," which offers support for PCs and phones regardless of where the device was purchased, is larger than that of other Microsoft stores.

In addition, the flagship has two theater spaces, which will be used for training sessions, community programs and other in-store events.

High-definition video walls and digital signage are featured throughout the space, streaming video, images and information. A two-story video wall is located behind the answer desk. And in a fun feature, customers can play Xbox One on video walls while surrounded in directional sound.

Microsoft operates more than 110 stores across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

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