Microsoft is moving ahead with plans to expand its retail presence in the world. Speaking at the Worldwide Partner Conference today, Kevin Turner, the company's Chief Operating Officer announced plans to open a new Microsoft Store in Toronto later this year and another one in Puerto Rico.

The software giant officially announced its retail-store launch plan back in February 2009 and currently has 20 stores open in a number of US markets, with 9 more opening in the coming months – Microsoft is opening its Orlando store on August 18 and its Boston Prudential Center store on August 23. But the Canadian and Puerto Rican stores mark the first time they will be taking the Microsoft Store brand outside the US.

According to The Verge, Microsoft is also planning to expand into the UK in 2013 with a store in London. In all the company says it plans to have 44 retail stores in place by June 2013. A year ago the goal was to open 75 retail stores within two to three years but at the current pace it's unclear if they'll be able to achieve that.

Microsoft's retail presence is still tiny compared to Apple's, which currently counts 364 stores in 13 countries, including 246 in the US. But the company says the move has helped them transition from thinking about customers to thinking like customers, not to mention they are an important brand and customer service driver.