This blurb will be in Short Takes today, but I wanted to get it out there because I know I’m going to get 100 emails this morning from people telling me that Microsoft just launched their first online store.

No, they didn’t.

Don't be fooled into thinking that this week's launch of The Microsoft Store is Microsoft's first foray into selling its products via an online storefront. And please, dear God, don't try to tell me that they're somehow copying Apple, because they aren't. Microsoft has, in fact, been selling its products via the Windows Marketplace for several years now. And the only big difference I can see between that site and the new Microsoft Store is that the latter only sells Microsoft software and hardware, while the former also offers third party products. So why all the hoo-hah over Microsoft's new store? Because most of the people who write blogs and news articles in this industry have no understanding of the topic they're covering. Yeah, I said it. Even Microsoft got it wrong: In a posting to the Windows Experience Blog announcing the store, a Microsoft employee described the new storefront as "the first online store where you can purchase Microsoft products straight from the source." Which is curious, because I purchased Microsoft AutoCollage from the Windows Marketplace about two weeks earlier. And for the record, the Terms of Use page on that site notes that Windows Marketplace is a "service that Microsoft provides."

BTW, I believe that Windows Marketplace launched in 2004. Here’s a story about it. Yes, the article says the site will be “maintained” by CNET. But all of the legal disclaimers on the site and trademarks point to Microsoft’s ownership, as noted above. You’d think Microsoft, at least, would try to draw some distinction between Windows Marketplace and

And let’s not forget Microsoft’s other online stores like Xbox Marketplace and Zune Marketplace.