Microsoft to permanently close all retail stores and move operations online

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Microsoft has said it will continue to invest in its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com. (File)

San Francisco:

Microsoft announced on Friday that it would close all of its stores and move its online retail operations, keeping just four locations and turning them into “experience centers”.

The move means that more than 80 Microsoft stores closed due to the coronavirus pandemic will not reopen as the tech giant enters “a new approach to retail,” said a statement.

“Microsoft will continue to invest in its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com and in its Xbox and Windows stores,” said the statement.

The four sites that will become the Microsoft Experience Centers are in London, New York, Sydney and at the company’s head office in Redmond, Washington.

The members of the retail team “will serve customers of Microsoft facilities and provide remote sales, training and support,” the company said.

Microsoft has announced that it will set aside $ 450 million to cover the costs of site closings. The number of employees who would be affected was not immediately available.

“Our sales have increased online as our product portfolio has evolved into largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven to be successful in serving customers beyond any physical location,” said David Porter. , vice president of Microsoft.

In recent years, Microsoft has relied more on its services such as cloud computing, with retail outlets focusing on its Surface tablets and laptops as well as Xbox gaming equipment. But physical stores have failed to gain momentum from Apple.

Independent technology analyst Neil Cybart said the closings were due to the fact that “the Surface business seems to be losing momentum more and more in the consumer space”.

The impact of the pandemic has not yet been reflected in Microsoft’s financial results. It made a net profit of 10.8 billion dollars from January to March, up 22% over a year, on a turnover of 35 billion dollars.

Despite the delays in production of its Surface range, the group believes that it is well positioned to face the crisis, thanks in particular to the explosion of cloud computing.

In an era of social distancing, Microsoft can also count on its telework, distance and education software and services.

However, it has just closed the video game streaming platform Mixer, leaving the field open to the industry giant Twitch, owned by Amazon, and its two rivals, YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming.

(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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