Microsoft is reportedly in talks with landlords in the UK as part of a plan to expand its retail operations to Europe next year.
According to reports in the Financial Times and WPCentral, Microsoft is confident that it will open its first retail outlets outside North America during 2013, pending an internal review of its current retail operations.
At present, Microsoft operates its own retail stores in Canada, US and Puerto Rico.
The move comes as Microsoft increasingly moves from being a software and services company to emulating Apple’s vertically integrated hardware/software/services/retail business model.
Microsoft recently entered the PC hardware market with the launch of its Surface tablet, which competes against similar devices from its hardware partners.