2010 11 18 1351 300x250 Sources: Microsoft to open 6 new retail stores in 2011, including one in NYCAs the year begins to come to a close the rumor mill for ‘what may or may not happen in 2011′ is starting to heat up. Today however, the rumor that we are bringing to you we feel relatively confident in, given who brought the story to light.

Venerable Microsoft watcher Mary-Jo Foley published a very rare ‘rumor’ post today explaining a tip that she has received surrounding the opening of more physical Microsoft stores. According to her source, as many as 6 new stores could be opened in 2011, including a store in New York City.

Apple stores are generally as nearby to the average consumer as their local mall. If Microsoft intends on matching that their work is cut out for them, but the company does seem determined to at a minimum grow their physical presence to boost their brand image in major markets. Microsoft recently opened their seventh retail store in Bellevue with such pomp that CEO Steven Ballmer even made a speech.

If the company does indeed open another six stores next year, a virtual doubling of their total store numbers, we do not expect Ballmer to make it to them all, but he could show at the NYC location if the situation warrants.

store Sources: Microsoft to open 6 new retail stores in 2011, including one in NYC

Don’t forget that Microsoft is hardly above hiring a celebrity or two for store openings to ensure big crowds and ample press, a tactic that may keep their store openings in the news. Whatever the case, we have trust in Mary-Jo and her sources, so if you are in one of the three named cities (Houston, Orlando, NYC), expect to have a little piece of Redmond coming to you soon.

Be sure and read our coverage of previous Microsoft store openings all across the United States.