updated 7/15/2009 8:49:55 PM ET 2009-07-16T00:49:55

Microsoft Corp.'s chief operating officer says the software maker is planning to open retail stores "right next door to Apple" in the fall.

The executive, Kevin Turner, also says Microsoft is "in the game for the long-term" and has hired a retail team.

Microsoft brought on a 25-year Wal-Mart veteran in February to lead the effort, but has said little since. Turner was speaking to a gathering of technology partner companies in New Orleans.

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Microsoft and Apple have been sparring for years. Microsoft's Windows runs on most of the world's PCs. Apple, which operates 250 stores worldwide, is venerated for its design sense.

Apple's popular Mac vs. PC ads depict Windows as a self-righteous nerd; Microsoft has struck back with ads that push PCs' lower prices.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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