NEW YORK--In a surprise move, Microsoft has started selling computers and third-party software via its online store.
It's part of a broader push to try to give Windows the kind of lift that Apple has gotten from its network of retail stores. Microsoft had said it would sell PCs at its brick-and-mortar stores, but it plans to open just two of those this year, including a Scottsdale, Ariz., location that opens later Thursday.
Early on Thursday, though, Microsoft revamped its online store, which had been an outlet only for Microsoft products. The remake of the online store comes just as Microsoft is launching Windows 7.
The revamped online store not only has Windows 7 for sale, but also a variety of machines running the new operating system, as well as other PC accessories and software from other vendors.
Clicking on laptops brings up a list of 10 models, organized by price, including two models below $750. The site also offers three Netbooks and a single desktop model, Lenovo's $999 A600 all-in-one.
On the software front, Microsoft is selling Norton 360 and Adobe Photoshop, along with Windows, Office, and other Microsoft products. Accessories include a lot of Microsoft keyboards, mice, and Webcams, along with flash drives and blank DVDs from other companies.