Microsoft Online Store: Get Your PCs, Third-Party Software

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As part of its Windows 7 full-court press, the restocked online store coincides with the opening of a Microsoft brick-and-mortar retail outlet Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Windows 7 distribution covers hardware, including netbooks, notebooks and a lone desktop, Lenovo's A600 all-in-one ($999).

Consumers can choose between 10 different laptops from vendors such as HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and Sony. Price points vary: The cheapest is Lenovo's G550 at $599, and the priciest are the Dell Adamo for $1,499 and the Lenovo ThinkPad T400s for $1,549.

There are three netbook offerings, all with 10.1-inch screens: the Lenovo S10-2 for $350, the Acer AOD250 Blue for $379 and the Sony W for $499.

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The software selection isn't all Microsoft, either: Surprise additions include Symantec Norton 360 3.0 1 User 3 PC and Adobe Photoshop.

A wide range of accessories are also available from several vendors. There's the HP Premium Web C309N printer, Samsung XL2370 monitor, Flip Ultra HD camcorder, Kingston Data Traveler 4-GB external drive and Belkin mini surge protector with USB charger, among other products.

Product pricing seems to match up against vendor MSRPs, but Microsoft has been criticized in the past for charging full price.

Microsoft Senior Program Manager Trevin Chow addressed the issue in a blog post when the online store first opened in November 2008.

"They [customers] see this as evidence that Microsoft is trying to gouge customers," Chow wrote. "Nothing could be farther from the truth.

"As many of you know, Microsoft has a deep retail channel presence and a long history of working very closely with partners. As with most consumer products, pricing will vary from reseller to reseller but it is standard practice for direct sales from manufacturers to be priced at manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). That's why our prices look higher."