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Microsoft Stores Closing: 5 Big Things To Know

The company's retail stores served as a unique showcase for Windows 10 devices but failed to get the sort of traction enjoyed by Apple's popular stores.

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End Of An Era

Microsoft announced last week that it is closing all 83 of its brick-and-mortar stores under a “strategic change” to its retail operations. The decision comes almost 11 years after Microsoft opened its first retail store in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2009 -- on the same day that it launched Windows 7 -- to better compete against Apple and its popular retail stores. The bulk of Microsoft’s retail store locations are in the U.S., with nine in Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

The store closures are a “tough, but smart” strategic decision under Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (pictured), with the Microsoft stores generating "negligible retail revenue," said Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives in a note to investors.

"The Microsoft stores were essentially ‘showcase stores’ and [it] was a smart strategy at the time, as more consumers can demo software, Xbox/gaming and play around with new hardware components," Ives wrote. "That said, in this COVID-19 environment, this was the right time for Redmond to rip the band-aid off and close the stores."

Microsoft said it will “reimagine” its Microsoft Experience Centers on its Redmond, Wash., headquarters campus and in New York City, London and Sydney, Australia, to serve all customers -- including consumers and small business, education and enterprise customers -- and allow them to experience Microsoft products and services.

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