Friday, June 26th 2020

Microsoft Moves to Permanently Close Physical Shops

Microsoft has decided to revamp their customer interaction priorities. The company has recently announced they will be closing off all Microsoft physical stores and doubling down on its digital storefronts - the company is looking to start offering new services such as one-on-one videochats, where customers can converse with Microsoft employees when making a purchase - effectively digitizing one of the salient aspects of brick-and-mortar stores. Stores which have been closed since March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The decision rolls back o Microsoft's continued work on deploying physical spaces where its products can be admired, touched, and tested by prospective buyers. It looked like Microsoft was looking to recreate the Apple Store experience - adding a more premium, more personal touch to their products. However, physical stores are both more expensive to upkeep and vulnerable to more liabilities than digital-only storefronts, and it seems Microsoft has decided the stores just weren't cutting, whether financially or in brand image. No mention on layoffs was made by Microsoft in the announcement, so it seems that most of these workers will be moving on to other endeavors inside the company - likely some of them to the aforementioned 1:1 digital shop customer service. Just another step in an increasingly digital world. The closing of Microsoft Store physical locations will result in a pre-tax charge of approximately $450M, or $0.05 per share, to be recorded in the current quarter ending June 30, 2020.
Source: Microsoft
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45 Comments on Microsoft Moves to Permanently Close Physical Shops

#1
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
Interesting. I never actually knew or heard of the fact that they operated brick & mortar stores the same way as Apple.
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#2
TheLostSwede
FreedomEclipse
Interesting. I never actually knew or heard of the fact that they operated brick & mortar stores the same way as Apple.
And I guess that's part of the reason why they failed, no-one really knew about the shops, or cared enough...
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#3
sepheronx
We have one in Chinook mall Calgary. It is a decent store and my buddy picked up a laptop usually for $1000, going for $800CAD. Was a dell laptop. Was cheaper than dell website.

Had to say, wasn't a bad shop at all. Too bad they are closing then.
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#4
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
TheLostSwede
And I guess that's part of the reason why they failed, no-one really knew about the shops, or cared enough...
They actually have a massive store near the big flagship apple store in my city. On second thoughts I think i remember reading that they opened a store in the papers but it seemed that nobody cared very much after it opened. They dont have the same draw as Apple.



The problem is. Its located on oxford street which is a super touristy. Tonnes of footfall, People going in and out but nobody buying anything.I highly doubt they would pick up a Microsoft device due to warranty concerns... Plus things might be cheaper from their home country due to differences in currency exchange rates.
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#5
Vayra86
The problem is, MS is not and will not ever be sexy.

They are boring and they should be damn proud of it. It is their unique selling point. Any time they try to make Windows funnier, it turns to shit.
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#6
Ravenmaster
I've never even seen a physical Microsoft shop before. Seen a few concession kiosks in other big electrical stores but never an actual shop of their own on the high street. Guess they won't be missed
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#7
phanbuey
Vayra86
The problem is, MS is not and will not ever be sexy.

They are boring and they should be damn proud of it. It is their unique selling point. Any time they try to make Windows funnier, it turns to shit.
The new surface laptops 3 are pretty sexy but can still do work. The 4's with the new ryzen chips and thinner bezels will be amazing machines.

Also the surface line, the gaming PC line and the xbox, as well as a whole bunch of top level gear was being sold at those stores. Granted they did copy apple down to the last detail.

The sad thing is now that they are closing the stores I probably will just pick up a dell since the warranty is better. If I can't take my surface to an easy to access store for fixes, that puts dell sending a tech out to me as a huge benefit.
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#8
SKBARON


The problem is. Its located on oxford street which is a super touristy. Tonnes of footfall, People going in and out but nobody buying anything.I highly doubt they would pick up a Microsoft device due to warranty concerns... Plus things might be cheaper from their home country due to differences in currency exchange rates.
They used to have a McLaren Senna in that one, good tourist attraction.
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#9
Vayra86
phanbuey
The new surface laptops 3 are pretty sexy but can still do work. The 4's with the new ryzen chips and thinner bezels will be amazing machines.

Also the surface line, the gaming PC line and the xbox, as well as a whole bunch of top level gear was being sold at those stores. Granted they did copy apple down to the last detail.

The sad thing is now that they are closing the stores I probably will just pick up a dell since the warranty is better. If I can't take my surface to an easy to access store for fixes, that puts dell sending a tech out to me as a huge benefit.
Yeah that's another thing... its always so half assed. The MS Band for example... pretty useful little gadget, my dad had a 1 and 2.0 version of it. First one replaced in warranty with 2nd version... (since we mentioned warranty... that is a pretty sweet deal I think).

Windows Phone... same thing. Win RT... same. It all falls flat and every time you think 'if they just gave it a BIT more momentum...'
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#10
Darmok N Jalad
Our local store is (was) in a large busy mall, but it rarely had many people in it.

The B&M stores were from the Ballmer era, where there were still consumer-facing products like Band and Windows Phone. Surface is only mildly successful, and MS can demo those at Best Buy. Nadela rolled back the fun MS era. Right or wrong, that means there isn’t much need for storefronts.
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#11
neatfeatguy
As far as I know the one at the Mall of America has been there for a while, but I visit that mall so infrequently because it's too much of a hassle to find parking, deal with the massive amounts of people or conveniently shop at a couple of shops you want to visit if they're on opposite ends of the mall.....

The couple of times I've walked past the MS store, even though the mall was busy, it was usually pretty empty of customers.

Walk past an Apple store and the folks were usually jammed in there like sardines. Then again, maybe folks in there are trying to get the employee's attention to get their Apple product serviced because their shit broke on them?
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#12
phanbuey
Vayra86
Windows Phone... same thing. Win RT... same. It all falls flat and every time you think 'if they just gave it a BIT more momentum...'
Don't forget the gem that was the Zune.

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#13
TheLostSwede
FreedomEclipse
They actually have a massive store near the big flagship apple store in my city. On second thoughts I think i remember reading that they opened a store in the papers but it seemed that nobody cared very much after it opened. They dont have the same draw as Apple.



The problem is. Its located on oxford street which is a super touristy. Tonnes of footfall, People going in and out but nobody buying anything.I highly doubt they would pick up a Microsoft device due to warranty concerns... Plus things might be cheaper from their home country due to differences in currency exchange rates.
Oh c'mon now mate, that's not too far from tottenham court road :p
It's also across the road from H&M, Niketown and some brand I've never heard of, so clearly trying to be very fashionable...
It doesn't even seem to have been there for long, judging by Google maps it's only a year or or max two. Rents must be painful there though.
I used to work about seven minutes walk from there many moons ago when I was at PCW.
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#14
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
TheLostSwede
Oh c'mon now mate, that's not too far from tottenham court road :p
It's also across the road from H&M, Niketown and some brand I've never heard of, so clearly trying to be very fashionable...
It doesn't even seem to have been there for long, judging by Google maps it's only a year or or max two. Rents must be painful there though.
I used to work about seven minutes walk from there many moons ago when I was at PCW.
Im not in that part of town very much and when i am, im mostly down china town. Occasionally me and my dad check out John Lewis, Debenhams & the other place thats owned by the guy from sportsdirect but we havent been along that stretch of road for a very very long time Most of the shopping for homewares is done more locally. We go to J.Lewis because they offer a good long warranty with stuff.

I dont think ive been to the microsoft store even once since it opened. Its been there at least a year i think.
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#15
TheLostSwede
FreedomEclipse
Im not in that part of town very much and when i am, im mostly down china town. Occasionally me and my dad check out John Lewis, Debenhams & the other place thats owned by the guy from sportsdirect but we havent been along that stretch of road for a very very long time Most of the shopping for homewares is done more locally. We go to J.Lewis because they offer a good long warranty with stuff.

I dont think ive been to the microsoft store even once since it opened. Its been there at least a year i think.
Well, it is the tourist area of sorts. Not a very pleasant street to walk on either, although the traffic isn't nearly as bad these days as it used to be.
I guess tottenham court road is since log dead when it comes to computer shops? There wasn't much left five years ago.
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#16
Darmok N Jalad
neatfeatguy
As far as I know the one at the Mall of America has been there for a while, but I visit that mall so infrequently because it's too much of a hassle to find parking, deal with the massive amounts of people or conveniently shop at a couple of shops you want to visit if they're on opposite ends of the mall.....

The couple of times I've walked past the MS store, even though the mall was busy, it was usually pretty empty of customers.

Walk past an Apple store and the folks were usually jammed in there like sardines. Then again, maybe folks in there are trying to get the employee's attention to get their Apple product serviced because their shit broke on them?
Oh, the irony. Pretty much every MS-branded device I’ve owned has broken inside the warranty period, and it’s not a small sample size. Every Apple product I’ve owned has lasted years and years without issue. I just finally retired my Series0 watch. I beat the heck out of it. to the point that the face came unglued, but I glued it back on and it still worked. Contrast that with Band 2, which fell apart in 3 months, then the replacement broke in 2 months. MS can’t even make a watch strap well. Apple is by no means without issue, but they are a well known brand and any manufacturing mistake they make is headline news.
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#17
neatfeatguy
Darmok N Jalad
Oh, the irony. Pretty much every MS-branded device I’ve owned has broken inside the warranty period, and it’s not a small sample size. Every Apple product I’ve owned has lasted years and years without issue. I just finally retired my Series0 watch. I beat the heck out of it. to the point that the face came unglued, but I glued it back on and it still worked. Contrast that with Band 2, which fell apart in 3 months, then the replacement broke in 2 months. MS can’t even make a watch strap well. Apple is by no means without issue, but they are a well known brand and any manufacturing mistake they make is headline news.
I gave Apple a try when I was gifted an iPod 30GB....it came with a 3 month warranty because after about 4 months of owning it the hard drive started failing. Constant hang ups, failure to load music/videos or play the file in its entirety, screen locking up and only resolution was to hard boot it. The wife was shopping around for a new laptop and we happened upon an Apple Store. I asked the guy behind the counter about my iPod. Told him it was purchased about 4 months back and issues I was having. He agreed with me that the HDD was faulty, so I asked if they covered a HDD replacement. He said it was out of warranty and that it would cost me more out of pocket to replace the HDD then it would be to buy a new iPod 30GB.

I have never personally owned anything else from Apple after that. My wife's thoughtful $300 birthday gift turned into a $300 piece of shit paperweight in about 4 months. I felt bad for her having spent that much on something and it failing so soon.
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#18
lexluthermiester
FreedomEclipse
Interesting. I never actually knew or heard of the fact that they operated brick & mortar stores the same way as Apple.
They did of course, and they were just as much high-pressure sales BS that Apple stores offer. They literally had a policy that sales team members could let no one exit the store until they had bought something.
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#19
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
TheLostSwede
Well, it is the tourist area of sorts. Not a very pleasant street to walk on either, although the traffic isn't nearly as bad these days as it used to be.
I guess tottenham court road is since log dead when it comes to computer shops? There wasn't much left five years ago.
Yeah. All that kind of died a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time ago. Even a lot of the camera shops and shops that sold stuff like home theatre audio & video businesses are gone too. Replaced with coffee shops & other shops that hipsters love. (I think the correct term is Gentrification)

Spearmint Rhino is still there though. :pimp:

There still are a few computer shops there. But the best ones are gone. The folks that took over are the ones that tell you your warranty is void the moment you open the box :laugh: (And this is a true story too. Back then i wanted to buy an SB-Z from one of them then they dropped the good news on me and i walked out and purchased from Amazon instead)
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#20
sam_86314
I've been to a Microsoft store down in Scottsdale, AZ, though it's been a while. It pretty much felt like an Apple store, and it seemed like a somewhat popular place for teens. If I remember, they had an Xbox One set up and a bunch of laptops and computers being used to play Minecraft.
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#21
TheLostSwede
FreedomEclipse
Yeah. All that kind of died a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time ago. Even a lot of the camera shops and shops that sold stuff like home theatre audio & video businesses are gone too. Replaced with coffee shops & other shops that hipsters love. (I think the correct term is Gentrification)

Spearmint Rhino is still there though. :pimp:

There still are a few computer shops there. But the best ones are gone. The folks that took over are the ones that tell you your warranty is void the moment you open the box :laugh: (And this is a true story too. Back then i wanted to buy an SB-Z from one of them then they dropped the good news on me and i walked out and purchased from Amazon instead)
Used to work not too far from there as well at point, when I was at the Register. There will still quite a few computer shops in that part of the city back then, but I guess that's 14 years ago... Time flies...
Some of them were pretty shit even back then I have to admit. Was convenient if I needed something quickly though.
Also, the Computer Exchange there gave me a fair chunk of cash for a really crappy Acer MP3 player with a hard drive in it that I got at a press event...
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#22
Darmok N Jalad
neatfeatguy
I gave Apple a try when I was gifted an iPod 30GB....it came with a 3 month warranty because after about 4 months of owning it the hard drive started failing. Constant hang ups, failure to load music/videos or play the file in its entirety, screen locking up and only resolution was to hard boot it. The wife was shopping around for a new laptop and we happened upon an Apple Store. I asked the guy behind the counter about my iPod. Told him it was purchased about 4 months back and issues I was having. He agreed with me that the HDD was faulty, so I asked if they covered a HDD replacement. He said it was out of warranty and that it would cost me more out of pocket to replace the HDD then it would be to buy a new iPod 30GB.

I have never personally owned anything else from Apple after that. My wife's thoughtful $300 birthday gift turned into a $300 piece of shit paperweight in about 4 months. I felt bad for her having spent that much on something and it failing so soon.
A 30GB iPod is a looooong time ago, and that was just one bad experience. I’ve owned multiple Apple products and haven’t had a single one fail to the point of not working. The closest was my just recently retired Series 0 watch. After years of abuse, the face finally popped off. I superglued it back on and it still worked, but by then I thought it was time for an upgrade. We have an iPad Air in the house that is over 5 years old, and it still works despite 2 cracks in the display from being dropped. Most of my MS hardware (Xbox, Band, Surface, Lumia) failed from simply using it normally, or it just didn’t work well. The Band 2 was a real clunker. MS couldn’t even design a watch strap that wouldn’t split in 3 months time (I had 2 of those). I probably tried 7-8 MS-branded products, and none of them were durable or reliable. My favorite was XboxOne’s sleep mode, where it wouldn’t read discs if I used the sleep mode. MS support wouldn’t replace it (it was under warranty still), no, thier solution was for me to just stop using sleep mode! That’s when I gave up on them, and at one time, I was all-in on their stuff.
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#23
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
FreedomEclipse
Interesting. I never actually knew or heard of the fact that they operated brick & mortar stores the same way as Apple.
IKR?! Surely it cannot be a huge savings. The pitiful 450 million kind of attests to the few number of stores.
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#24
Caring1
neatfeatguy
I gave Apple a try when I was gifted an iPod 30GB....it came with a 3 month warranty because after about 4 months of owning it the hard drive started failing. Constant hang ups, failure to load music/videos or play the file in its entirety, screen locking up and only resolution was to hard boot it. The wife was shopping around for a new laptop and we happened upon an Apple Store. I asked the guy behind the counter about my iPod. Told him it was purchased about 4 months back and issues I was having. He agreed with me that the HDD was faulty, so I asked if they covered a HDD replacement. He said it was out of warranty and that it would cost me more out of pocket to replace the HDD then it would be to buy a new iPod 30GB.

I have never personally owned anything else from Apple after that. My wife's thoughtful $300 birthday gift turned into a $300 piece of shit paperweight in about 4 months. I felt bad for her having spent that much on something and it failing so soon.
Sucks to live in a country that doesn't have a minimum of 12 months warranty.
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#25
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
lexluthermiester
They did of course, and they were just as much high-pressure sales BS that Apple stores offer. They literally had a policy that sales team members could let no one exit the store until they had bought something.
Surely that violates some laws to do with kidnapping? Having worked in areas that have a huge focus on tourism. Imagine my surprise when i found out not all tourists speak English or fluent English. Suddenly trying to talk them into buying a £300-1300 laptop/tablet seems like trying to scam them out of money.
TheLostSwede
Used to work not too far from there as well at point, when I was at the Register. There will still quite a few computer shops in that part of the city back then, but I guess that's 14 years ago... Time flies...
Some of them were pretty shit even back then I have to admit. Was convenient if I needed something quickly though.
Also, the Computer Exchange there gave me a fair chunk of cash for a really crappy Acer MP3 player with a hard drive in it that I got at a press event...
Same - I used to work in Debenhams a long time ago then moved to working in Holborn. Still within the same map grid but tucked out of the way. The best shops was GHS Tech & YoYo Tech. My first ever build was bought with parts from yoyotech & they were awesome people. A lot of my parts would come from them up until they eventually shut shop after their parent company (I think it was AnandTech at the time...) decided to throw them under a bus. Sold them to a company who were also going into the red financially. They almost went into administration until some other company bailed them out.
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