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Microsoft stores to 'pop up' in US and Canada on October 26

SAN FRANCISCO -- Scores of real-world Microsoft stores will “pop up” in the United States and Canada on Oct. 26 to showcase the technology giant's latest gadgets including the new Surface tablet computer.

Microsoft websites on Tuesday promised that temporary, holiday-season shops with a “curated collection of Microsoft's coolest products” would open their doors on the date.

“Microsoft is excited to expand on its existing retail footprint to deliver an assortment of best-in-class products and a premium retail experience to new locations,” the U.S. tech giant said in a statement when the shops were announced.

“The holiday stores continue to offer customers the opportunity to learn new technology skills and get the most out of their Microsoft-enabled devices.”

The list of more than 60 locations for the shops — known as pop-ups because they have short or seasonal commercial leases — included New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Toronto.

The company, which has been in the process of opening permanent retail stores in several U.S. cities, is seeking to break into the competitive market for tablet computers with Surface, which is set to be released Oct. 26.

Surface tablets are powered by new generation Windows 8 software set for release at the same time. Microsoft shops are likely to feature arrays of Windows 8 devices made by hardware partners.

Surface, which will compete against the market-leading iPad and others, features a flip-out rear “kickstand” to prop it up like a picture frame and a cover that, when opened, acts as a keypad so tablets could be switched into “desktop” mode for work tasks.

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Keith Lorizio, vice president of U.S. Sales and Marketing for Microsoft Advertising, gives a presentation at Advertising Week on Tuesday in New York, Oct. 2. (AP)

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