Microsoft's posh retail bet

(REUTERS) - The logos and signage were different, but the opening of Microsoft's big New York City flagship store had all the markings of an Apple event, complete with big cheers at the opening.  

Even inside the store, looking for the genius bar, head to the Answer Desk.

Want to pay? Don't look for an obvious cash register. A mobile associate can help you out.  

Even the prestigious location, on Fifth Avenue, is just a few blocks from Apple's store.  

"We are on Fifth Avenue where people want to see premium devices. They want to put their hands on them. They want to fall in love with what they are going to purchase. It has to happen here. We know that." said Microsoft's Corporate Vice President Of Devices, Panos Panay.

The store serves as a platform to launch Microsoft's first laptop, which has seen strong demand in pre-orders, as well as its latest surface tablet.  But taking a cue from Apple's retail success is no guarantee:  

S&P Capital IQ's Scott Kessler said: "Microsoft is different from Apple. People in my opinion, they like and they love the Apple brand and they want everything Apple. I think, in Microsoft's case, I think because of the variety of products and services they offer to different types of customers, I think, it's a much harder sell. "  

But at least on day one, sales looked pretty brisk, especially in the Xbox area, where the new Halo game is teed up to become a fan favorite.