Microsoft announced that all of its retail stores will close. However, corporate facilities and “Experience Centers” will persist.

Microsoft Store prior to closure following COVID-19.
A Microsoft Store that is being permanently closed after COVID-19.
Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft had to close nearly all of its retail stores due to COVID-19. As a result, they moved their services almost entirely online. In a company post, Microsoft announced that it will continue to operate online. None of their retail locations will reopen after quarantine restrictions are lifted.

Say goodbye to Microsoft Stores

In the announcement, David Porter said that Microsoft’s sales from online stores have increased with COVID-19. Porter also said that Microsoft’s “talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location.”

This did not come as a surprise. Microsoft had been planning a transition online for a while. In June 2019, Microsoft closed all of its specialty stores and kiosks in the U.S. This was done in order to move traffic to its larger locations and bring more customers online.

The closure of over 100 stores worldwide could cause considerable unemployment. Luckily, Microsoft also announced that it will keep nearly all of their current employees. Microsoft has spent the last few months retraining workers to online positions, ensuring that very few employees will lose their jobs at Microsoft.

Despite the closure of its retail stores, Microsoft will continue to offer face-to-face services after COVID-19. Microsoft will serve customers out of their corporate locations. Microsoft will also turn some retail locations into experience centers. These include locations in London, NYC, Sydney, and Redmond.

Microsoft Experience Center lecture.
A lecture at a Microsoft Experience Center, which will replace many retail stores after COVID-19.
Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft experience centers cater to entertainment instead of retail. They do not sell any products. Instead, experience centers will offer showcases of interesting tech, as well as offer education on cybersecurity and many other activities.

This is a big change for Microsoft, but it is not uncommon. More and more companies are moving services online. COVID-19 has only sped up that transition. It is likely that other tech companies will follow Microsoft after COVID-19, closing their physical stores. However, we will have to wait and see.

What do you think about this announcement? Will other tech companies follow suit? Let me know what you think in the comments! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the Aroono newsletter for updates of your choice.