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Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles is primarily a strategy update and pep rally for the armies of companies and consultants that support, service and sell the Redmond company’s products among large and small businesses — with lots of competitive digs along the way.

But Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s chief operating officer, just dropped a bit of news about the company’s plans for retail expansion, via webcast from the event.

The company will open “up to 75 more stores over the next two to three years and continue to bring our stores outside the U.S., as well,” said Turner, showing the slide above. “We’ve got a huge opportunity to get the Microsoft story out there.”

That’s still far fewer than Apple, which has more than 300 stores worldwide. But it’s a significant expansion beyond the 11 stores operated by Microsoft currently.

A report by Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff in April pointed to an internal debate inside the company over how quickly Microsoft should open more stores, with Turner and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer advocating matching or surpassing Apple’s presence.

Speaking to the partner conference today, Turner said the biggest benefit of the stores for Microsoft is “helping us transition from thinking about our customers to thinking like our customers.”

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