Microsoft will ring in the new year by opening six new retail locations that will help customers get better exposure to products such as its Surface tablet and Windows Phone devices, the company announced today.

In a clear mimicking of Apple’s retail strategy, Microsoft opened 51 “full-line” (large retail locations) and “specialty” stores in 2012. With electronics shops like Best Buy and RadioShack closing stores, it’s important for Microsoft, like Apple, to educate folks about its products and partner products.

The new shops could help educate customers about its still-new Windows 8 operating system, various Windows Phone 8 smartphones, and Microsoft Surface tablets running Windows RT and Windows 8.

The six new Microsoft retail locations will be at:

• The Shops at La Cantera, San Antonio, Texas
• Dadeland Mall, Miami, Fla.
• Beachwood Place, Beachwood, Ohio
• Westfield San Francisco Centre, San Francisco
• City Creek Center, Salt Lake City
• St. Louis Galleria, St. Louis

Microsoft said it expects to open “many” other stores in the near future as well.

We’ve had questionable experiences with Microsoft’s retail store in Austin, Tex., but we realize there are other stores around the country where people might be more friendly.

Microsoft Store via Rob Stinnett/Flickr

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