Microsoft announced today that it's permanently closing its retail stores around the world. The company does plan to roll out reimagined "Microsoft Experience Centers" in London, New York City, Sydney, and Redmond.
With the closure of most of its retail locations, Microsoft says that it plans to continue to invest in its digital storefronts and Microsoft.com and stores in Xbox and Windows. The company says these digital shops reach more than 1.2 billion people every month in 190 markets.
As for retail employees, Microsoft says that they'll continue to serve customers from Microsoft corporate facilities as well as remotely providing sales, training and support.
The first Microsoft Stores opened in 2009.
While it's unclear if the coronavirus pandemic was the sole reason for Microsoft's decision to close all of its retail stores, it likely at least played a part. Stores have been closed for months and while some cities are starting to re-open, parts of the US are seeing COVID-19 spikes and we've seen Apple re-closing its stores in parts of the US in response.