Microsoft Corp will open stores close to those of Apple Inc this fall, according to its chief operating officer, as it looks to win back the initiative in the battle for Main Street PC and gadget buyers.

We're going to have some retail stores opened up right next door to Apple stores this fall, said Microsoft's Kevin Turner at a webcast conference in New Orleans on Wednesday. Stay tuned.

The world's largest software company announced in February that it would open its own chain of branded stores as it looks to counter Apple's successful foray into retailing, hiring a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc executive to run them.

Few details have emerged since then. A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday only that there will be scenarios where we have stores in proximity to Apple, and that some stores would open in the fall timeframe.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)