Believe it or not, there’s a very good reason to shop at Microsoft’s retail outlets

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Microsoft’s retail stores don’t typically generate the same crowds as Apple stores but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check them out, especially if you’re in the market for a new PC. The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern points out that buying a PC at a Microsoft store means that it will come without one of the most annoying problems that has long plagued PC users: OEM bloatware.

“All laptops sold through Microsoft’s retail stores and its website come ‘junkware-free,'” writes Stern in an article she wrote this week about how to eliminate crapware on your new computer. “Instead of preloading trial versions of Norton or McAfee anti-virus programs, Microsoft says to just stick with Windows Defender, which is included with all Windows 8 PCs.”

This is important to note because Microsoft is really working to expand its presence in the retail world and is even in talks to open up a huge new retail outlet on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, just down the street from one of Apple’s flagship stores. Microsoft has long been annoyed at all the added bloatware that its OEM partners lard onto Windows machines and if the company can expand its own stores enough to make them crapware-free havens, they could become a potentially significant draw for prospective PC buyers.

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