Microsoft is Closing Its Retail Stores for Good

Posted on June 26, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft with 145 Comments

Microsoft announced today that it will permanently close all of its retail stores and reassign those employees to other locations. It will continue operating four Microsoft Experience Centers.

“As part of our business plan, we [are] closing Microsoft Store physical locations,” a horribly-worded announcement, on LinkedIn of all places, reads. “Our retail team members will continue to serve customers working from Microsoft corporate facilities or remotely and we will continue to develop our diverse team in support of the overall company mission and objectives.”

Microsoft is blaming the closures on COVID-19, but let’s face it, these stores have been failing for years and have never approached even a tiny percentage of the foot traffic that Apple sees with its own retail stores.

But Microsoft also notes that its hardware and software sales have continued to shift online as its offerings have evolved to be largely digital, and its retail workforce has likewise evolved during the pandemic to serve customers remotely.

Whatever the reason, it’s over.

Going forward, Microsoft says it will “reimagine” existing facilities in London, New York City, Sydney, and Redmond to help serve its customers. But it’s not clear if they are referring to retail locations or other facilities. (UPDATE: The four locations are so-called Microsoft Experience Centers, according to the firm. These locations will not have retail sales.) And it will pump up its digital storefronts and virtual support offerings.

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Comments (166)

166 responses to “Microsoft is Closing Its Retail Stores for Good”

  1. energy

    This is no surprise. Again, they attempted to be like Apple (at least to some degree) and it didn't work at all.

  2. jgraebner

    This isn't a big surprise and probably makes sense strategically, but it is a bit disappointing as I always had really good experiences at my local Microsoft Store (at the Topanga Mall in Woodland Hills, CA). I bought three different Surface devices there as well as a few accessories and also went in there a couple times for service. Each time the employees were extremely knowledgeable and helpful and the overall experience was pleasant.

    The store was never quite as busy as the Apple Store across the way, but I don't ever remember seeing it completely deserted on any of my visits.

  3. harrymyhre

    First they dropped signature edition.

    Now they close the stores.

    i know people who are flummoxed by windows. There is no way they can untangle the Hairball of Windows. Where do they go? The geek squad from Best Buy?

    if they stop making surface pc then what?

  4. strikeone

    My personal experience at the San Diego store was very positive. For example, I took a damaged Huawei laptop (in extended warranty) in, got full credit on it in 5 minutes, selected a new Surface laptop, selected a nice carrying sleeve from about 5 styles available, and was out the door in 25 minutes. By the way, the store's foot traffic was enough to keep the sales/tech people busy. At a Aliso Viejo store, the sales lady immediately solved a pen problem; no waiting as you do at a Genius Bar.

    In contrast, my last appointment at an Apple store: arrived on time, waited for 30 minutes, then a competent technician fixed my iPad problem but he had to service several other people's problems in time-share fashion. Not enjoyable.

    I'll miss the resource.

    • ontariopundit

      In reply to strikeone:

      "no waiting as you do at a Genius Bar.

      In contrast, my last appointment at an Apple store: arrived on time, waited for 30 minutes, then a competent technician fixed my iPad problem but he had to service several other people's problems in time-share fashion. Not enjoyable."

      You very nicely describe the difference between the two operations. A store that can provide you service with "no waiting" means that it better be moving a whole lot of merchandise. Given that they weren't profitable it probably means that the locations weren't serving Microsoft's bottom line.

      Apple's stores are a mix between educational, informational and sales. I couldn't even describe what Microsoft's are like because I've only wandered through the one near me a handful of times--and each it was so empty you could hear a pin drop. The devices they had on display looked nice but also were very expensive--far more expensive than I would EVER pay for a Windows/non-Mac device.

      I guess that's the difference in customers they service.

      Apple services customers who are prepared to spend good money on a device. Microsoft's Windows ecosystem, OTOH, primarily services the budget crowd who look at things like raw processor power (me) or lowest price.

      The super expensive devices that were always on display in the Microsoft store never appealed to me. If I was going to spend that much money I would simply get a Mac or an iPad. Those types of devices retain their value for a lot longer and you know the value proposition that you're getting. With a comparably priced Windows price you have no idea what the value proposition is. You can easily buy a computer that is a third of the purchase price--with some compromises--but those aren't the types of computer you'd buy in a Microsoft store.

      I personally have a Dell i5378 13.3" laptop. On paper it's very similar to my partner's MacBook Pro 13.3" laptop from the same year (2017?). I paid just over a 1/3 for my laptop than we did for the MBP and I bought my Dell from the Microsoft store when it was on deep sale. That laptop never appeared in their bricks-and-mortar stores at the sales price.

      Ultimately, I can see why you'd pay the extra for a MBP. The quality difference is stunning. As is the battery life and the processor power (on paper my Dell is just as powerful but in practice it's a very different storey).

  5. jwpear

    RIP Microsoft Store. I really appreciated the great customer service I received when I visited. I believe this is one area where Microsoft excels above others, including Apple.

    It was clear, however, that the store just didn't draw the people that Apple draws to its stores. Even as a lay person, the store felt like more of a liability to the brand than something that would prop it up.

    I hope they do improve the online offerings. I've visited recently and it has become a confusing mix of store and It feels harder to find things.

  6. navarac

    In reply to Waethorn:

    Re-your BTW. It also happened to me a while back as well. Response to helpdesk was NIL, although a slightly impolitic reply to a post got attention. I do believe the site has been having issues recently though (in their defence).

  7. thagoochiestmane

    Didn't they spend a bunch of money renovating their NYC store a year or so ago? Between this and Mixer that's a fair amount of money down the drain.

    This makes me fear for the future of the Surface line; and sadly without Surface I'll probably switch to Apple for everything but a custom tower.

  8. robert_wood

    I am sorry to see this happen, especially for the people who worked at the Austin store who always gave me terrific customer service. They were always nice and professional and bent over backwards to keep customers happy. I have no complaints about that store and I think it's unfortunate.

  9. johncon50

    'Tis shame. The stores I visited never had "Apple' traffic but were always fairly busy and the service they provided, not just to interested customers or service, but coding camps for girls, xbox gaming nights for youth, was always good. They were involved in the community, for free in many cases. I was looking forward to visiting the 'local' store when this Covid thing blew over

    It hurts me when I see a 'Microsoft' representative in their section at BestBuy. Seeing the deer in the headlights expression of the potential customer and the barely engaging salesperson. Sometimes I'll share a few words with the customers, just to let them know the products are good, people do buy these products. I just hope they don't pull the Microsoft section out of BestBuy as well. That's the last opportunity people have to 'kick the tires', else the consumer business is just left with xbox.

  10. Elan Gabriel

    Given they're got rid of almost all of their consumer projects, there was little reason to keep these open. I have two where I live (Vancouver), but every time I went inside I just stood there trying to think of a reason for me to stay. Other than kids playing Xbox after school, there was never a real reason to go there. Having said that, they were always super nice and that one time I had to replace my Xbox console was quick and efficient with no questions asked.

  11. jcalamita

    It's a shame... this was the first holiday season I went to the mall and actually saw more people in the Microsoft store than the Apple store (which are very close to each other in King of Prussia Mall). Paul, any idea how they are going to take care of people that have Retail Only gift cards. Have a couple of those from the holiday deals they have every year and now I have no way to use them, since they say not for online use...

  12. F4IL

    Too bad for the people who worked there especially in times like these.

  13. James Hancock

    Microsoft is done in end-user land. They're toast.

    The only way that they can become relevant again is to create the best damn cross platform development tool that works on Web, iOS, Android, Windows and macOS. That ain't Xamarin Forms (or MAUI that is 18 months away). It's had more than half a decade and is still trash.

    And the .NET team is hostile to the tool set that would get them there if they adopted it like Steve Sanderson demonstrated working code for with Blazor. Yes, Flutter.

    Meanwhle Panos Panay has been given the impossible task of making Windows relevant and getting out innovative products that people want to use... which he can't do without apps, which Microsoft doesn't have because everyone has to own a mac to do end user dev on iOS and no one cares about windows because they can just use a web browser. So Windows is now Browser + Office. That's its sole reason for existence. The second Word and Outlook are good enough in the web browser that goes away too and then Windows is done. Panos is the last-ditch effort for Microsoft. And he's being hamstrung by a .NET team that has flushed Xamarin's potential away for years and now doesn't want to admit they have a problem while servicing an ever shrinking set of clients with old desktop technology no one in their right mind would start a new project on.

    Microsoft needs to do with Flutter what they did with Linux (WSL) and Chromium (Edge) before and co-opt other people's stuff, make them do the hard work, and then focus on the tooling to make it the very best tool that gets you in this case and Edge, the rendering engine. That's the hard part of cross platform and Google has nailed it with Flutter. So use flutter and hook on C#, Xamarin remote simulators (from the cloud for free for devs so they don't need to own a mac ever), remote debugging on ios without a mac, and Azure Devops publish to stores without a mac support. Make it all seamless and Microsoft would win and Panos would have a chance to save windows.

    But until someone rams this down the .net team's throat, that isn't going to happen and we're going to get MAUI which is too little too late. Microsoft will have exited the end user market for OS and hardware in 18 months.

    Meanwhile, despite multiple people commenting and making proposals they are shutting down everyone. I was shocked by the hositlity to a friend of mine's proposal to do the above by Microsoft people. And it's surreal given the success of WSL and Chromium Edge that this isn't being talked about at the highest levels of Microsoft and being an open secret.

    But then they just keep falling back, closing stores being the latest in a long line of giving in and pulling back, ceding ground. Soon there will be no ground to continue to ceed.

    Paul, if you've got pull, and can talk to Panos, try and make him see the light. Because Microsoft out of End-user is bad for everyone (especially .NET devs). Microsoft with a viable 3rd platform is good for everyone, especially if devs don't have to write 4 apps instead of 3 and can write one 1 app that does all 4. I was hopeful that he was going to take the bull by the horns so to speak and ram an intelligent solution to cross platform dev that would suck everyone in because of the massive ROI of a single tool for all platforms that was pixel perfect. It's the only thing that makes sense. But it seems he doesn't get that Baulmer was right "Developers! Developers! Developers!"

    • ontariopundit

      In reply to JohnGalt1717:

      "Microsoft is done in end-user land. They're toast.

      The only way that they can become relevant again is to create the best damn cross platform development tool that works on Web, iOS, Android, Windows and macOS"

      Your first sentence sums things up nicely when it comes to the dominance of Windows in the world of computing. Your second sentence is merely a historical statement of what Microsoft already did when they bought Xamarin.

      There's no reason to think that a magical cross-platform tool will save Windows and we need look no further than Apple's Mac and Google's Android.

      Microsoft already had Xamarin. Xamarin was destined to fail. It was targeted at niche or new developers who wanted to be everywhere on the cheap, not at the "big boys" or at mature developers who specialize in only one platform.

      Large developers don't mess around with one application code base to rule them all. They have teams of devs dedicated to each platform that they develop for. Sure, there is a common code base but the interface is often custom built for each platform.

      Heck, Microsoft keeps two completely separate teams for Microsoft Office for Mac and for Windows and has done so for decades. When Microsoft tried to save money on the Mac BU they saw quality drop precipitously and it opened up breathing room for competitors on the Mac to take marketshare away from the extremely lucrative Mac market.

      You want your app to fit perfectly in with the iPhone's manner of working, and the same for Android. Macs and Windows are completely different from a touch interface for a small screen so they need a COMPLETELY different approach.

      Xamarin was designed to make that simpler, but, why go for something that's not native on iOS or Android simply so you can _also_ have a Windows app in the same code base. That just doesn't make sense.

      What matters is whether the platform offers the types of CUSTOMERS that developers want, and whether the platform allow developers to be creative in their solutions.

      Apple's business model and computer engineering has shown decisively time and time again that a cross-platform solution and a larger market is NOT AT ALL necessary to ensure success.

      For that matter, you don't even need a whole lot of developers. One of the 20th century's most influential developers was Bill Atkinson. He had his hand in two of the applications that shaped so much of modern computing--MacPaint, which together with MacDraw presaged Adobe's flagship Photoshop, and HyperCard which was a great hyperlinked predecessor to the www.

      Since 1984 Apple has had the Mac. It's always had only a very small market share--depending on how and when market share was measured, Apple's Mac has always been 1/20th to 1/6th as common as the competing Apple DOS, Microsoft DOS or Windows ecosystems.

      Yet, despite that Apple's Mac has always had a robust ecosystem of software--in the 1980's and through to the late 90's far superior to anything the competition offered--and was the platform on which the vast majority of today's mainstay desktop apps and paradigms were developed and perfected.

      When Apple first released the Mac in 1984 developers managed to, within the first few years, create a remarkable number of the applications we still use in 2020 or develop the paradigms of working that are so familiar today.

      Word and Excel come to mind as still extant packages, MacWrite heavily influenced later versions of Word, Apple's own MacPaint and MacDraw laid the foundation for much of Adobe's software, HyperCard was perhaps one of the best predecessors of HTML* and, if it still worked, would STILL by 2020 standards be a shockingly powerful tool to allow non-programmers to create remarkably powerful programs.

      *I've never understood the mythology surrounding Berners-Lee and the founding the world wide web. When I look back on my first use of the www in late '93 I always have to shrug. I'd been using HyperCard for many years by that point and the www was simply a much less stable, slower version of HyperCard.

      Despite having a much smaller market Apple's Mac always succeeded in attracting the best of the best when it came to developer talent. Many of the 21st century mainstays all started on the Mac and eliminated the competition that existed on DOS/Windows when they did finally arrive on Windows (most of Microsoft Office started on Mac, almost all of Adobe's software)

      • James Hancock

        In reply to OntarioPundit:

        Large developers make up 5% of all software development. The average software team is 3-5 people including QA. (i.e. 2-3 developers)

        And they're being asked to provide iOS, Android and Web.

        Flutter makes that a single codebase with virtually no custom code except in edge cases. And soon that will include windows.

        And even large companies won't spend 4-5x the money when they can do it once. This is already happening with Paypal and others slowly transitioning to flutter because the cost savings is enormous. Once Web goes public release, that trickle becomes a flood.

        If you add in all of the dev tools around (the failed) Xamarin onto Flutter and make it even easier and don't require them to own macs, you get developers back simply through cost savings alone. What to use Dart? Go ahead. Want to use C#? For sure!

        That's how you win developers back. By showing a clear ROI as to why they should use a tool that happens to target windows for free. No amount of paying for it, nor amazing hardware from Panos Panay solves their problem.

        Don't need a lot of developers? Joe Belfiore tried that with Windows Phone. They paid developers to write windows phone apps. It failed awfully because the apps were done for money, not as a primary focus. Using Flutter with Windows having the very best rendering engine for Flutter apps and every app looks similar, ensures that Windows isn't an afterthought. And if you make the development tools best on Windows, then it becomes the primary target and people just test on Android and iOS which makes them optimized for Windows and Windows becomes the premium experience.

        • ontariopundit

          In reply to JohnGalt1717:

          You have good insights John Galt. Amusingly it was another one of your posts from a month or two ago that got me to search through the comments and found this thread with you :).

          "And if you make the development tools best on Windows, then it becomes the primary target and people just test on Android and iOS which makes them optimized for Windows and Windows becomes the premium experience."

          I think the market has deprecated Windows, permanently. The greatest developer tools in the world won't bring the developers back. Windows on the desktop is a paradigm of computing that has been refined and perfected over the years.

          Windows 10 is now a really good experience (tm). But, despite the dramatic rise in the quality of the experience Windows 10 is almost entirely irrelevant. You, in another comment, posted the insight that Windows is little more than Microsoft Office and a web browser (ehem, Google Chrome).

          In some ways, Microsoft should throw in the towel with Windows, spin it and Office off as a separate company, Apple should do the same with Mac and then Mac and Windows can merge into one company. This would reduce R&D costs for developers. A monopoly on the desktop is not nearly as damaging in 2020 as it was in the late 90's when Microsoft was only a minor political storm away from being broken up. Apple's iOS and Google Android ecosystem are both fully mature, and dominant computing platforms that can nicely go head-to-head with Windows.

          Of course, both Apple and Microsoft (more so than Apple) drive business to their cloud computing profit generators from their desktop operating systems so it'll be a few years before we see that kind of consolidation on the desktop.

          But, if you think about it, the differences between Mac and Windows are becoming less substantial as the years pass. Software is increasingly cross-platform and web-based, and Windows 10 has adopted many of the Mac and iPad paradigms. In terms of overall experience (stability, ease of use) there aren't (m)any huge differences left.

          The difference between Mac and Windows now boils down to a somewhat (but not radically) different approach to the interface. This could be solved with different window managers (like GNOME vs KDE) overlaid onto the same underlying Unix/Linux operating system.

          Windows 10 is in maintenance mode. The desktop computing paradigm is rapidly becoming a 'utility'. Look at cars.

          There hasn't been a profound change in how a car operates in over a hundred years. Anyone who has their license now and has enough strength could, with only a little training, operate a car built in 1920!

          I think the desktop has now hit that kind of stability (for that matter, the desktop hit that kind of stability 36 years ago already in 1984... it's not like the Mac from 1984 and the applications it ran is profoundly different from the Mac of today or Windows 10 of today).

  14. olditpro2000

    Can't say I'm surprised. The times I've checked out a Microsoft Store there was hardly anybody in there. Microsoft is not a lifestyle brand or a brand that people aspire to, so there was little reason for consumers to frequent these stores. I would bet that many Windows users don't even know that Microsoft sells their own computers.

    It was the best place to get hands-on with Surface hardware though; it's a shame the stores won't be around for the Neo/Duo launches. Hopefully Surface isn't next on the chopping block.

  15. RobertJasiek

    My plan of visiting an MS store and telling them precisely why I don't buy a Surface Go 2 and what I want a Surface Go 3 to be dissolves:)

  16. garythornberry

    I am a Microsoft Assure customer. I used my store at least monthly. It was my in-person tech support for my laptops and Microsoft software, and well worth the price. Although I have a good general PC background, I'm not a techie.

    Assure online support is from India. The service can be excellent or poor. It all depends upon the issue, and how well you can understand the English accent of the support person. My last Word 365 inquiry was terrible.

    During Covid-19, I really missed the store. Recently, I tried to contact the store's Technical Support Manager and she never responded. I now know why.

    Rest in Peace. Another Microsoft consumer product/service dies. Is the Surface product line next?

    Question? Any recommendations for how I can replace my Microsoft Assure hardware and software support? I really like the in-person assistance.

    • ontariopundit

      In reply to garythornberry:

      "Question? Any recommendations for how I can replace my Microsoft Assure hardware and software support? I really like the in-person assistance."

      Buy a MacBook Pro or an iPad. The MBP can run Windows if you wish (if you buy one now), and at least the iPad has a rich ecosystem of touch optimized apps :).

  17. jdjan

    I'm genuinely saddened by this. Not that I went there often but I really did like the experience - the staff seemed friendly (even though they seemed like Apple store rejects) and it reignited my enthusiasm for the brand. I also got GREAT tech support there for Surface products - even ones that I had bought used (and not retail) and would never buy a Surface device from anywhere else.

  18. innitrichie

    This is terrible news for the billions of people who visit Microsoft stores each year to access tech magicians, sales guidance, and in-depth product experience demonstrations. We need to keep putting key Microsoft technologies in the hands of as many people as possible to ensure sophisticated users needs are met. With Surface Phone Duo on the horizon, this a terrible time to give up on the Microsoft retail experience.

  19. yb

    I live very close to the Oxford Circus Microsoft retail shop; I often had the opportunity to see how well it was doing:

    even on the first day of the shop - 11th July 2019- it was clear that the upper floors were devoted to serving the very large business cluster in the area, and only the first two floors offered the traditional retail facilities.

    once the excitement was over, and apart from Saturdays, the shop did not attract many retail customers- despite being right outside the Oxford Circus station. Since the third week of March, the store has been closed.

    At the same time, virtually all the local businesses [save for some stores] closed, and remain so.

    It will be interesting to see what Microsoft would do with the premises- the rent is ridiculously high, and they have been there for less than a year. Sure, they can use the frontage and the ground floor as a showroom, it will cost them a lot of money.

    The Apple store [200 yards away, down in Regent Street] is now open again, queues can be observed during most of the day- it is as popular as ever [mobiles mainly!].

  20. bluvg

    For Surface business customers, the Mall of America store has been absolutely fantastic. I'm surprised the business side of the stores got little attention, because they made it super easy to work with them, especially if you needed to swap hardware. I'll also miss the opportunity to walk in and try equipment that Best Buy will never carry.

    From a consumer standpoint, they didn't really seem to run it like a business unto itself. They didn't have compelling sales incentives, and I don't think they played up their service advantage at all. Apple Stores offer a limited set of options from one manufacturer. The options in PC market are enormous in comparison, and not really suited to retail unless you need a computer right now.

  21. bleeman

    Really sorry to hear this. When I still lived in Texas the store in Frisco, TX was always busy and the staff there was GREAT! I really enjoyed working with them, being able to have "hands on" time with hardware before purchasing it. I also enjoyed the various activities they offered (Gaming, classes, etc.) and being able to bring my equipment in for service was a lot easier than having to mail it somewhere. Not looking forward to that prospect if something goes wrong with my Studio 2 ?

    Frankly, I'm thinking that I'm going to start removing Microsoft from my life. As a retired IT pro I had planned on continuing my relationship with them, but more and more I can see that as a consumer rather than an IT guy Microsoft doesn't seem to have much interest in me. It's frustrating as they keep removing things right and left. I know other companies do the same and it definitely seems to go with the territory as you get older. There are many things I enjoyed in my younger days that have long since disappeared over the years so I don't kid myself that it would be any better with another company. But I'm just done. I'm tired of investing in something that excites me, meets my needs, etc. to only have it pulled out from underneath me later on. My sweet spot with Microsoft was when I had my Windows Phone, Windows Home Server, Zune, various Surface devices, and Xbox. Everything worked well together. Then things slowly started eroding away.

    My needs are a lot simpler these days. Just something to surf the web with, play some games on, and send/receive E-mail, which I can do with just about anything. So as my Microsoft products die off I won't be replacing them with something else from Microsoft. I can see where at some point I'll probably pull the plug on Windows as well, along with following anything related to it.

  22. naddy69

    Once again, folks.

    Microsoft is NOT a consumer products company. They never have been. Yes, they tried. But every single consumer product failed. 

    Windows PCs are NOT consumer products. They never will be. They sort of were, 15 years ago. But that was only because there was no other way to get on the internet. 

    Now that everyone has a phone (and maybe a tablet), there is no reason for the vast majority of CONSUMERS to own a complicated, hard to use, antiquated, Windows PC. 

    Burning money on retail stores when your core customers - businesses - don’t go there (and probably didn’t even know the stores existed) is just plain silly. 

    This is a business decision, folks. Just like killing phones and MP3 players was. 

    AGAIN, it’s not that MS does not care about consumers. It’s that consumers don’t care about MS.

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to naddy69:

      There was a brief window (pun intended) where if they had beat android to the "alternative to Apple" punch, they might've could've been relevant to the end user to this day, maybe even enjoying the 85% market share that Android currently enjoys. But, alas, it didn't go down that way. They saw the future, and acted on it with PocketPC, but failed to adapt and pivot properly when Apple showed up to the fight. I am certain even Bill counts this among the greatest missteps of all time.

    • illuminated

      In reply to naddy69:
      Now that everyone has a phone (and maybe a tablet), there is no reason for the vast majority of CONSUMERS to own a complicated, hard to use, antiquated, Windows PC. 

      I assume you have not seen new phones lately.

  23. peterc

    Well..... the list of closures continues. To think 5 or 6 yrs ago my win mobile and surface pro 3 were my go to devices for everything, yet today now I’m sitting here typing with my iPad Pro and iPhone..... and my windows desktop is used for work tasks only when I go over and switch it on.

    The windows and devices group are going to have to have some epic turnaround success to avoid Microsoft becoming the 365 and Xcloud company.... that’s quite a lot of pressure on Panos to succeed..... It doesn’t bare thinking about what his exact business brief is. It leads to some pretty stark choices ( surface??) I’d fasten your seat belts people as the list of closures ain’t over yet and the current global pandemic situation is ripe for burying some bad news....

  24. Scsekaran

    There is only one store in U.K-London Regent Street . In my experience, it predominantly worked an experience centre / show case rather than proper retail store. I am glad it is going to be there in the future.

    Last year I tried to pre-order surface pro X In London Regent Store but there were none on display and ordered by online / telephone rather than physical store with the additional protection of online sales.

    I never felt lack of physical store in U.K impeding my decision making. John Lewis and to some extend PC World UK have separate sections for Microsoft products. Especially John Lewis tend to provide good experience and two year warranty rather than 1 year standard and stores are scattered across the country.

  25. Rickydavis40

    Microsoft is a big company. Big companies make a lot of money. They spend this money in various ways so that they can keep making a lot of money. They spread their bets so that in the end one of those bets becomes a winner. They saw Apple winning over at that table( physical stores), and they decided to go sit at the table and start betting money. It did not work out that great for them. They now see this other table, where Amazon is making alot of money (AWS), so now they are sitting at that table and betting money. So far they seem to be doing ok. I don't see the closing of the retail stores as an indicator of their creativity or long term viability. It is merely an exercise of allocating their resources in business models that either do good or not do good. It is like Warren Buffet pulling his money out of the Airline's industry. It is a realization that due to the Covid 19 reality, certain business models will struggle to make money. Under Satya, they do not have an emotional attachment to their bets like they once did. The key to good business in my thinking is recognizing when you are making bad bets. I think it is a good move.

    • red77star

      In reply to Rickydavis40:

      Microsoft is leaving consumer space and going Azure / Cloud big time. That is their business model and they will be ok doing that until there is no more Windows and then the chain of the events will hit them back so hard they will never recover from.

  26. hrlngrv

    About time.

    Purely as a financial matter, they've always been and likely always would have been money losers. They were pure Ballmer vanity projects. Odd that it took Nadella so long to dump them.

    Also, the machine I lust after and can't afford (well, justify) is a Dell Precision 7540, with a joystick pointer and a full number pad. I very much doubt I'd ever have seen one in a MSFT brick & mortar store had I ever been within 50 miles of one.

  27. jdawgnoonan

    I experienced great customer service at the Microsoft Store in Naperville, IL and also at their kiosk store in West Des Moines, IA. I liked their stores.

    • PanamaVet

      In reply to jdawgnoonan:

      I know how you feel. Welcome to the crowd.

      I have been enjoying my Zune HD pretty much every day for the past 10 years. I keep a screwdriver and a spare battery handy. Microsoft crippled the functionality when they abandoned it even turning off the server used to reset the device.

      Now they are turning off the stores.

      Paul is right about Microsoft's inept approach to new product development. I go to stores for what they already have if they are a reputable seller.

      So far I have only replaced the battery in my Zune once and not because I had to. I LOL when I saw a Zune in Guardians of the Galaxy. I miss being able to explore a universe of music with it.

  28. ndelena

    That is very disappointing to read. Clearly they struggled to get the same traffic as Apple, but their customer service was outstanding. I once had an issue with my Surface Book 2 base where the GPU no longer showed up when connected. I brought it in to the store on a whim and within 10 minutes they had just swapped mine out with a brand new Surface Book 2 entirely. They clearly empowered their front line staff to make decisions like that to make customers happy without having to go seven levels up for approval. I imagine the same service will continue, but I dread the thought of having to pack up, ship, and wait weeks for similar issues in the future.

  29. ebraiter


    Ya. Right. sure.

    "The only way that they can become relevant again....."

    You are basically saying that Microsoft should scrap everything.

    Sounds like this article was your way to vent whatever frustration or beef you have with them.

    I guess you they'll go bankrupt because they aren't making money from Azure, SQL Server, Exchange, Office or Windows [among others].

    So the stores closed up. Who cares. It was a showcase at best. Apple Stores are around for them to show off their latest iGadgets to the fanbois and fangurls or some novice who knows nothing about the iGadget.

    I guess you are a dev as it seems 90% of your rant is geared towards that.

    • miamimauler

      In reply to ebraiter:

      "I guess you are a dev as it seems 90% of your rant is geared towards that"

      Devs have every right to rant against MS given the way MS treated them during the WP/WM days.

    • James Hancock

      In reply to ebraiter:

      If you don't have the apps, you don't have a business model for the end-user. The only reason why MS is even in the market at all anymore is because of Office. If that goes into the browser, Windows is done. According to Microsoft's own data, the average windows computer has between 0 and 1 apps that aren't a browser, pre-installed or Microsoft office installed on them.

      Ie windows is a glorified Web Browser with Office.

      That, does not a business model make.

      Thus, since every single other approach including actually paying for development has been an abject failure for Microsoft, it's time to try something very different, exactly as they finally admitted with Edge and finally admitted with WSL 2. Both of those exist because Microsoft got off their high horse and realized that it was better to use the hard work of others than fight against it.

      The ONLY way to get developers back to Windows given that browsers are "good enough" for most things, is to make it so damned trivial for them to develop for windows that they do it almost by accident. And they do it, because it's cheaper to write software once instead of 4 or 5 times.

      The ONLY technology that does that convincingly is Flutter, especially when you include web development in a single code base. No other technology even comes close. Certainly not Microsoft's stack.

      If you disagree with this assertion, tell me why instead of making excuses. Tell me what your plan is to fix windows and make it relevant again. Because one thing is absolutely for sure and Paul has been on this a lot, Windows is toast and Microsoft will open source it and walk away within 18 months if they don't come up with a plan. And they have none as it currently stands. No amount of Panos Panay showing amazing hardware solves their fundamental issue which is Developers.

      • ontariopundit

        In reply to JohnGalt1717:

        +1 :)

        It's not Office and a Web Browser, it's Microsoft Office and Google Chrome. Most people who now use Windows use a single program written by a competitor that does cloud, search, operating systems (x 2), hardware ('desktop' and mobile) and advertising.

        Cross platform development will be no savior for Windows' relevance. Windows is a desktop paradigm. You will always need to have both a desktop paradigm and a touch paradigm for computing. One size fits all always will play second fiddle to dedicated R&D for each paradigm.

        Heck, Microsoft even maintains three separate teams and code bases for Microsoft Office. Sure, there is some sharing of the code base but there's also a lot of unique material. If you have a simple application, sure, it can be managed in a single code base.

        But, for a program to truly shine it needs to take advantage of the unique features of each operating system that make a program "sing' for that particular paradigm of computing!

        eBay, for example, is a useful tool on Android, but it is not the application that makes it useful (in fact, the application is downright AWFUL). It is the underlying website! (same thing with Kijiji... AWFUL program but useful tool... and for many other programs that are merely 'portals' to the website).

        You're also dealing with two different customer bases: those of us who understand what happens to your body as you hit middle age and beyond and those who don't. Old habit die hard. While I've transitioned much of my trivial communication to my phone (even as my body starts its age-related degeneration), there is much that I still do on my touch-enabled laptop (none of it involving touch :).

  30. faustxd9

    This is sad to see. My nieces took a lot of classes there when they were down for the summer and I bought them computers from the store. I enjoyed walking in and seeing the range of great devices. Plus is made me feel good as a fan of a lot of their products! Plus they had some great sales on devices like the Kano line.

  31. AlexKven

    Now when it's time to try out the brand new Surface Neo before you buy, you just gotta close your eyes and use your imagination!

  32. Jan Abraham

    Soo... I have $50 worth of Microsoft Gift Cards that I got from a physical microsoft store. They are explicitly limited to their physical stores and they state right on the cards that it is not redeemable for purchases online. It also says the cards do not expire and so I was planning on using them when purchasing a Series X down the line. The codes on the back are not the same as those on cards that can be redeemed at as they are not 25 characters long and are numbered only with a barcode. Does anyone know how one can redeem them now that the physical stores are closed?

  33. illuminated

    I liked Microsoft stores. It was a good place to see the real hardware and people working there knew stuff. I guess Microsoft can save some money and have something like dedicated display at best buy.

  34. BudTugglie

    Now where do I get my Windows phone repaired?

  35. craigb

    Well it was good while it lasted.

  36. Jorge Garcia

    If, instead of going with those hard-to-explain-to-auntie Chromebooks, Google had fashioned a fork of Android that looked and felt "more-or-less" like Windows to the end user, but had access to the Google Play store (and nothing else), along with some competent desktop and laptop hardware, Microsoft would be even further in the consumer's rear view mirror than they are today. I know almost no one who VOLUNTARILY fires up Windows anymore, other than gamers. Samsung seems to be the only company that gets this concept which is why I hope they soon go all-in on their DeX software, as in creating a range of bespoke laptops and desktops running it as the sole OS. I would gladly hand my older family members a DeX-based android laptop to have "fun" with, but I would feel like a horrible person giving them a windows machine to suffer with in 2020.

  37. matthewitt

    I felt like this was a possibility once they closed down from COVID. Time to use it as an excuse for every bad business decision and prune the bush.

  38. rmlounsbury

    The Microsoft stores while a neat idea never seemed to translate and really given it is the default for most machines shipped in the world do you really need to showcase it? In contrast the Apple stores and their cult-ish atmosphere wasn't just a place to check out their gear but it was pretty much the only place you can go for support and repair of Apple devices so they have some useful function. Apple also does an excellent job with their workshops in store as well.

    I've never see the Microsoft stores I've come across with more than a hand full of people. I'm sure they where useful for some but seemed to largely not have much of a purpose.

  39. will

    Wow. That just feels like a gut punch. I agree there is a stark contrast from an Apple Store to a Microsoft one, but to close them all?? This just sucks on so many levels.

  40. txag

    I have often observed two Microsoft stores — both in malls, and both near Apple stores. In both Danbury, CT and The Woodlands, TX (suburban Houston) the Apple stores were always (pre-Covid) full to bursting and the Microsoft stores were nearly empty every time I looked. If those two stores were at all representative, Microsoft had to be losing a lot of money keeping the doors open. If I remember correctly, the Danbury Microsoft store was larger than the Apple store when I lived there, which made the contrast more dramatic.

    • proftheory

      In reply to txag:

      I knew one of the employees - who also happens to be a ham. I usualy went in there to chat about the hobby scene. I once even went in there to confirm what I already suspected was the problem with an Outlook 2019 problem.

      One problem with PC tech support is that everybody knows someone who can fix it for free. (A+ or not many really don't know what they are doing.) And Microsoft doesn't have as much of a cult following as Apple.

      When MS tried ARM devices they should have called it Doors #1 and not try to sell it as Windows with a twist but rather re-imagine a computer that doesn't have the issues of Intel legacy.

    • Scott Ross

      In reply to txag:
      You can copy and paste that for other stores. I used to live near the one in Troy MI. (The store that Balmer opened) and the King Of Prussia Mall, both were pretty close to the Apple stores and both had little to no foot traffic. I always wanted them to do well but in the end they did not have what consumers were looking for.

    • ericgharrison

      In reply to txag:

      I think something no one is bringing up - a lot of the crowds in Apple stores are people waiting on service or support. I don't say this as an anti-Apple person - I have a lot of their products!

  41. johnh3

    No Windows Phone, Cortana speakers, or other stuff and so on. I suppose there no point for Microsoft to be in the retail business to only sell a few PC.s

    So a logical decision.

  42. drjohnnyray

    We've visited the Microsoft Store at the Easton Shopping Center in Columbus. My wife bought an original surface book at that store for her Bachelor and Master work. It is a shame it's leaving because it was an easy way to actually see all the brands of Microsoft hardware.

  43. beckoningeagle

    Oh man!, probably the only place I enjoyed visiting the mall. Only Best Buy and Office Depot left in Puerto Rico. Not good at all.

  44. BlackForestHam

    These stores were, from their genesis, a project of MSFT’s marketing arm.

  45. JH_Radio

    I was at the Microsoft store in Orlando, there was nobody there at all. I looked at surface laptop II I think at the time. It was nice to be able to go in there and feel the hardware. Surface definitely is premium with premium pricing to match. I have several laptops and I am not in need of a computer right now, but when I am , I could see myself going Microsoft. Sad to see them go, but understandable as to why.

  46. dstrauss

    They could have at least waited a full week after WWDC...

    I realize they had almost minimal traffic compared to Apple stores in the same location, but this will look to the public as capitulation, not retrenchment.

    • someguy1984

      In reply to dstrauss:

      It looks like capitulation, because it is. These stores never had a decent reason for being, it was just "Apple has them, so we must have them to", and they were often located within sight of existing Apple stores. Microsoft never articulated what these were for, and they were just a constant money drain.

  47. sykeward

    There’s a decently-sized Microsoft Store here in Portland that’s been around for a while, but two of the three times I’ve visited I was the only customer there. There were always a lot of staff present, though – it was a little unnerving to be silently watched by so many (admittedly polite) employees who had nothing else to do.

  48. gregorylbrannon

    I hate to be a " I told you so" person but last week on Windows Central Podcast. I asked Can and Zach if they could see Microsoft closing their retail stores because of several reasons. Reason #1 We all here have said how most stores were always empty with the exception of kids playing Xbox and OF games demos. Reason #2 Most electronic retail stores have already reopened in some limited capacity but it seemed as Microsoft was in no rush to reopen stores. My guess is the cost of rent was probably not worth the low revenue the stores were bringing in. So it's probably easy to use COVID-19 impacts as a viable reason to close stores.

    I'm sad as I frequented my Frisco, Texas store and made good friends there. It was like the show Cheers for me where want to go where every body knows your name. Lastly this feels like this just another action that makes Microsoft feel less and less like a consumer company.

  49. JacobTheDev

    That's too bad, I always enjoyed stopping by the Microsoft Store near me. Everything was super polished and functional, lots of cool tech to check out, and extremely helpful and knowledgable employees in my experience.

  50. sherlockholmes

    The bad news never ends.

  51. skolvikings

    My only anecdotal experience with a Microsoft store was at the Mall of America, where it's literally located directly across from the Apple store. The few times I've been there, the Apple store definitely had significantly more foot traffic than the Microsoft store, although there were always people in the Microsoft store. Though a good percentage of them were kids playing the display Xbox consoles.

  52. madthinus

    This effects Surface mostly. Buying a Surface means either online or via a partner.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to madthinus: They sell them at Best Buy, and there are way more of those, in the US at least. I have 3 Best Buy's in town. Have to drive 60 miles for the nearest MS store. Was actually something I did when Windows Phones were around, because there wasn't anywhere else to see the whole line-up. Carriers tended to have one barely working model on display near the back of the store.

  53. Pungkuss

    How long until they get rid of the surface line.

  54. yaddamaster

    Since i live in the Seattle area all I can do is gauge what I see here. And at the few stores in this location - the traffic has always rivaled the Apple stores. At Bellevue Square Mall the Microsoft store and the Apple store are very close to each other and easy to observe. Granted - this is Microsoft land but still.

    Regardless - unless Microsoft is planning on exiting the hardware business (possible) then this is a mistake. If I'm going to drop $1k+ on a new laptop/tablet it's very convenient to step into a store and actually try it out. Even the Surface X - until you hold it in your hand you don't realize what a beautiful piece of hardware it is - but obviously very compromised.

    Obviously COVID has changed the strategy completely. But I tend to think this is a mistake.

    • chrisltd

      In reply to yaddamaster:

      In the US, you can always go to Best Buy to see and try Surface devices.

    • gregorylbrannon

      In reply to yaddamaster:

      Amen brother!! If you've ever try browsing a Surface of any Windows 10 laptop at a Best Buy, Nebraska Furniture Mart or any electronic retail store. The sales people are horribly inept at educating customers on those devices but if you visit the Apple section they can thoroughly explain Macs and iPad because they either use them personally or the store has a dedicated Apple salesperson there. Consumer increasingly becoming an afterthought and second class citizen to Microsoft

  55. behindmyscreen

    Where would they reassign retail employees?

  56. karlinhigh

    Well, Microsoft must know if the stores aren't working out. If they aren't, closure is expected.

    But in my internal thesaurus, "reimagine" has become a synonym for "destroy."

  57. SRLRacing

    I purchased all my Surface hardware at the Microsoft store. This is kinda sad for me. Being able to get service there was a huge plus.

  58. jeff.bane

    It was a still a great place to look at all the available surface devices vs like Best Buy. I personally bought a surface pro and surface laptop at a physical location over the years. Shame.

  59. harmjr

    In Houston area we have two maybe three of them. I loved the one in our Galleria. I bought several devices but I could always see there was more people playing with devices then buying them. Too be honest their prices were premium. Its sad that we wont have a really good place to look at PC hardware. I always felt that's what the store was there for. I would take customers there for my side gig to test out computers they wanted before buying.

  60. oscar1

    The evidence that Microsoft are about to forgo consumer space altogether are mounting. I wonder how long Surface will survive, especially in light of Apples announced move to ARM.

  61. ponsaelius

    I am in the UK and back in 2013 the first rumours of a Microsoft retail presence were on the blogs. Not here but elsewhere. I have two Apple Stores within five miles and they are always packed, they run free courses and are focussed on a high quality premium buying experience. I was looking forward to UK stores and buying my WindowsPhone from there.

    In 2015 I was in San Francisco on holiday and stopped by their store. It was fine. It seemed somewhat less buzzing than an Apple Store but there was a real difference in mobile. Their WindowsPhone devices were out of view at the back of the store and were the cheaper mid to low range models. I could see why it wasn't selling in the USA if they couldn't even be bothered to do something special in their own store. I did buy an HP Stream 7 on offer.

    The world has changed since then. Microsoft is not a consumer company and has even less to offer at retail in a mobile first world.

    I was considering a special rail trip to London before Covid struck to check out the store and maybe buy some Surface headphones. If it's just an "experience" and I can't buy anything then it looks like the trip is off.

  62. dcdevito

    Just another Ballmer era tidbit being erased.

  63. navarac

    With the store in up-market Oxford Street in London (UK), it won't be missed. Not exactly where the majority of Brits do their shopping. Pre-Covid it was full of foreigners anyway.

  64. hassan_timite

    Thanks Mr nadella for firing even more people [/Sarcasm]

    Seriously does Satya really think that destroying anything other than cloud related solutions is a great strategy to keep ustomers trust in Microsoft ?

    Personnaly if i move to another platform than Windows, something i consider more and more this day, i will stop using anything related to Microsoft besides perhaps Xbox.

    But then when XBox will be completely replaced by XCloud i will move to something else for gaming, perhaps Playstation.

    • red77star

      In reply to Hassan_Timite:

      Irony is, their Azure is pile of crap in my opinion.

    • innitrichie

      In reply to Hassan_Timite:

      Microsoft 365 is a phenomenal industry-leading set of solutions. Nothing else matters. It's bigger than Windows even as far as I'm concerned.

      • Paul Thurrott

        It's literally a superset of Windows, so sure. :) But yes, what's bigger than Windows is the Office 365 component of Microsoft 365. It's bigger and it's more important. And it's also cross-platform.
      • hassan_timite

        In reply to Hassan_Timite:

        Microsoft 365 is a phenomenal industry-leading set of solutions. Nothing else matters. It's bigger than Windows even as far as I'm concerned.

        We shall see if people will keep using Microsoft 365 if Microsoft continues its current path of Windows destruction .

        You see Google also does have good cloud solutions but they did understand why they need Android devices despites being mainly cloud oriented. You need your own medium as the main/favorite way to consume your own services.

        Relying on third party O.S as the main medium for one's own services consumption is dumb to say the least.

        The XCloud situation on iOS is a good indication of what Microsoft risk if it keeps its current path.

        If Windows die, nothing will prevent Google to make of Android a no man's land for Microsoft services. Especially as Microsoft should to rely on Chromium...

    • Paul Thurrott

      At which time PlayStation will also be only in the cloud. :)
  65. glenn8878

    There's a reason to visit an Apple Store. I have an iPhone or iPad to repair or see their latest models. Microsoft Store keep failing to sell relevant PC hardware. Their Surface laptops and Pro models are beyond the budgets of most customers. No one cares about Xbox, which was long overdue for being marketed as an entry level PC. They removed their mobile phones. Their virtual reality and augmented reality devices disappeared after a lot of marketing and then nothing. Band discontinued prematurely. Suddenly, Apple stole their thunder with ARM Macs.

    • ebraiter

      In reply to glenn8878:

      There is a difference. You can go just about anywhere to get a Windows computer serviced. But anyone but an Apple employee touches an iGadget and you can kiss any warranty goodbye.

      You believe Apple hardware is cheaper than Microsoft's. Xbox is a gaming platform. Not a PC.

      "Apple stole their thunder with ARM Macs". Nope. There is an ARM version of Windows 10 v2004 available since the v2004 release. When will ARM computers from Apple be released in store?

      • glenn8878

        In reply to ebraiter:

        Except for Apple authorized repair as an alternative that Apple tells you to go. You can still choose Apple, which is preferred since their service is unmatched.

        "You believe Apple hardware is cheaper than Microsoft's."

        It depends. I don't advise buying a Mac, but I definitely think iPhones and iPads are cheaper categorically especially with all the sales being offered. Surface is not affordable compared with third party vendors like HP, DELL, ACER, and ASUS. Microsoft explicitly decided to make Surface an aspirational product. I felt it had the right idea, but it didn't age well.

        "Xbox is a gaming platform. Not a PC."

        Obviously, but it shouldn't merely be.

    • red77star

      In reply to glenn8878:

      No one sane buys PC unless you are in laptop business. People build their PC from parts and it is multi billion business.

      • oscar1

        In reply to red77star:

        I think you mean the opposite. Almost no one is building their PC from parts, the DIY market is a tiny slice of PC sales. What century are you living in, really?

        • RobertJasiek

          In reply to oscar1:

          If one knows how to build a PC or complete a barebone, the result is often better and less expensive than what can be bought preassebled. There can be exceptions, of which maybe a gaming PC is one: some are well built but also expensive while building some oneself is not so easy.

          Nowadays, who still buys a PC when instead he can buy a mobile device? Only people who know exactly why they need a PC. Most of them might be companies. Most of those individuals needing a non-gaming PC nowadays might also know or quickly learn how to build it themselves.

          • ontariopundit

            In reply to RobertJasiek:

            "If one knows how to build a PC or complete a barebone, the result is often better and less expensive than what can be bought preassebled."

            Having built a few of my own rigs I can confidently say [censored]. Balderdash!

            A reputable manufacturer like HP or Dell supports their hardware for many years. I've found that many of the component manufacturers don't support their hardware for long with drivers, and, I've also found that building your own can result in driver hell--even in 2020--not encountered with HP or Dell (and, with HP or Dell you can often still use the component manufacturer's driver if HP or Dell no longer support the device).

            As for the "less expensive" claim, for it to be valid you have to ignore a LOT of factors.

            That claim is only valid if you ignore the TCO (total cost of ownership) of the device.

            Yes, you can most likely buy the core components like RAM, CPU and mobo for less than if you were to buy the same desktop from a store, but, you completely ignore resale value or driver incompatibility. A home built rig has almost no resale value in a few years while a brand name desktop can actually be resold.

            This is why people who think long term often buy Macs and iPhones.

            TCO for a Mac or an iPhone is substantially lower than for a comparable Windows computer or Android phone because the resale value on Macs and iPhones is proportionately, MUCH higher than similar vintage, price and spec Windows desktop and Android phone.

            This same differential applies to do-it-yourself rigs vs. brand name desktops.

            IIRC a few years ago someone tried to build their own Mac mini. They ended up with a device that was twice as large and cost something like $100 more than the Mac mini. Not only did the Mac mini offer a smaller package but it was also a better value than the do-it-yourselfer could do. And, this didn't consider the fact that the Mac mini can run both Windows and Mac while the do-it-yourself rig could only run Windows, and had a hard time running Mac OS X.

            • ontariopundit

              In reply to OntarioPundit:

              "Having built a few of my own rigs I can confidently say [censored]. Balderdash!"

              Don't get me wrong. Everyone who's got any tinkerer inside them should build a computer from scratch at least once. It gives you a much better appreciation of what goes into a computer, and, what a good value a well built desktop like a Mac mini or an iMac is.

              I don't know if I'll ever bother with a home-built rig again. My biggest motivation was to have a fast computer.

              But, with the rise of the smartphone my whole approach to computing has changed. My Pixel takes care of a lot of my more "advanced" computing needs (amusingly enough) while my desktops take care of the nuts and bolts.

              My favourite computers now are an 11 year old Dell E6400 upgraded with an SSD with a gorgeous 14" wide screen (they just don't make that display format any more... it's all this 1080p nonsense which is only good for consuming media and browsing the web) and a 10 year old iMac, also with a gorgeous screen a a great OS.

              My killer home-built desktop has sat idle for nearly three years. Even though it still has a CPU that's more than twice as powerful as any laptop in the house I just never have any use for it. And, to break it down and sell it for parts was never worth my time or effort.

              Just before covid-19 hit I browsed a few of the HP and Dell iMac clones in a Best Buy one boring lunch break.

              I was floored by just how low quality those devices were, even though they didn't cost a whole lot less than a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better iMac (MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better screen, more powerful CPU, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better build quality... touching an iMac doesn't leave you with the impression a strong breeze will knock it over).

            • RobertJasiek

              In reply to OntarioPundit:

              If I bought a complete PC, my expense per year would be ca. €70. If I build my own PC, it is €40. The key is simplicity so that hardware or driver problems won't occur. For these rates, I do not need any resale value.

          • Paul Thurrott

            If you say so. That's not been my experience at all.
      • glenn8878

        In reply to red77star:

        Since when? The DIY market died a long time ago. Most people buy off the shelf or customized desktop PCs from major vendors. Vendors can get parts cheaper than regular consumers. They also install software, which is a major hassle and a big learning curve. People like their warranties and don’t want to deal with taking apart their computers.

  66. red77star

    The consequences of the true failure Windows 8.x/10 abomination mounted to. I will say this one more Windows no Microsoft on the long run but one boring company with their boring Azure business no one cares about.

    Microsoft badly needs to stop copying Apple/Google and get rid of all abomination within Windows 10 such as UWP, cross platform, WSL and other crap along with hideous UI they have. Microsoft is going to lose their Windows Customers because Windows is more like something else and less Windows.

    COVID 19 has nothing to do with this...go check Apple retail store...COVID 19 is not stopping people from buying there.

    • ontariopundit

      In reply to red77star:

      "Microsoft badly needs to stop copying Apple/Google and get rid of all abomination within Windows 10 such as UWP, cross platform, WSL and other crap along with hideous UI they have. Microsoft is going to lose their Windows Customers because Windows is more like something else and less Windows."

      UWP was Microsoft Windows desperately grasping for a life saver. When Apple side-swiped Microsoft's mobile OS with the iPhone Microsoft was caught flat footed. When Apple released the iPhone Steve Ballmer famously opined "it doesn't appeal to business customers because it doesn't have a keyboard. Which makes it not a very good email machine. ... Right now, we're selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year. Apple is selling zero phones a year. In six months, they'll have the most expensive phone by far ever in the marketplace."

      What Apple had done was taken a Mac, redesigned the interface to suit that of a 4" touch screen, stuffed it into a much smaller package and added the hardware needed to support a cellular connection.

      Apple had looked at the problem of a smartphone from a computer maker's perspective while Microsoft and BlackBerry had both been coming at the problem of a smartphone from the perspective of a over-designed feature phone.

      Apple got it right. Microsoft and BlackBerry got it wrong.

      With the benefit of hindsight it was obvious that Apple would come out with a mobile phone computing device to challenge Microsoft's brief head start in mobile phones because Apple had both been experimenting with mobile computing as long as Microsoft had (check out the Knowledge Navigator from 1987 on YouTube or the (much maligned) eMate).

      UWP was a mistake. By 2011 it was obvious that Microsoft was losing the battle for the hearts and minds of smartphone users, and especially for the developers of smartphone apps which were completely ignoring their much diminished platform. And, Microsoft had also failed to produce a tablet device to successfully compete with the iPad (sure, Microsoft had had OEMs making touch screen tablet computers as far back as Windows XP but they were simply Windows XP running with a touch screen "mouse"... lots of people had retrofitted MacBooks and PowerBooks to have the same experience... and it wasn't good)

      Microsoft pivoted to outflank Apple, thinking that they could make one operating system to rule them all and leverage all the Windows developers to make apps for all form factors, phone, tablet and desktop.

      Unfortunately for Microsoft, as history has shown, touch and desktop simply don't go well together. It's still a niche product. I am always amazed by how few people use their touch screen laptops as a touch screen. Jobs (I think it was him) was right to point out that it's not natural to raise your arm up for long periods to interact with a screen.

      Windows 8 was the disaster that started the chain reaction that has lead to iOS and Android becoming the globe's dominant operating systems (by value or by number of users).

      Windows 8 was designed first and foremost for touch. Consumers rejected that paradigm because it did not work well with mouse and keyboard, and with it they also rejected the UWP technology that was supposed to bring developers on board to make lots of touch-friendly apps to challenge Apple's new found juggernaut status with the iPhone and the iPad.

      Lose the developers. Lose the momentum. Windows is now an invisible utility to run legacy software like Microsoft Office, Adobe and a handful of other specialty tools.

      Even those tools are slowly being moved online which begs the question: "why Windows?"

      What exciting developments happen on Windows? I keep looking in the Windows store (aka the place the find UWP apps) and I find nothing but junk. Even reliable standbys for me like IrfanView and VLC Player are crippled in their Windows Store version compared to their real desktop versions.

      UWP was an innocent bystander in Microsoft's quest to challenge iOS. Xamarin, a fantastic tool, was also an innocent victim of Microsoft's effort to keep UWP relevant to keep Microsoft's hopes of challenging iOS (and Android) alive.

      Ah well. So much digital ink spilled over technologies that are being relegated to the dustbin of history.

      • RobertJasiek

        In reply to OntarioPundit:

        There are many millions of "old" Windows desktop softwares - not only a "handful" and not only Office. The small numbers affect the web company apps (shops, banks, travel, media webpages etc.), smartphone-/touch-orientated apps and MS store apps. Some say that there would be too few newly-created desktop softwares, but does it matter in view of the sufficiently many old ones?

  67. docpaul

    This makes me so sad. Stopping by the Microsoft Store has been the highlight of my trips to downtown. And as weird as this might sound, a source of a lot of good memories with my family.

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