In what could be considered a bleak representation of current events, Microsoft has announced that they will be shutting down all but four retail stores. The company said that the four stores that will remain open will be transformed into experience centers. The company said that they will be moving the retail operations online.
"Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location," said Microsoft corporate vice president David Porter. Currently, Microsoft has over 80 retail stores that have had to stay shut due to the Coronavirus outbreak. During the time, while retail sales have obvious rock-bottomed, online sales have risen greatly, prompting Microsoft to take the new approach for retail. "Microsoft will continue to invest in its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com, and stores in Xbox and Windows," the statement said.
While the company has not declared how many employees would be impacted or lose their jobs due to this new direction, the company has said that the retail ream will continue to tend to customers from the Microsoft corporate facilities. They will continue to provide training, support and sales guidance remotely. The company has committed a $450 million corpus to aid everyone involved in this transition.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of the company announcing the end of Mixer, Microsoft’s game streaming platform. The company has said that they will be partnering with Facebook Gaming moving forward.
Over the last few years, Microsoft has been slowly pivoting from a hardware company to more of a services model. The company has been building its cloud computing portfolio such as Azure Cloud. Microsoft is also poise to enter the cloud gaming space with Project Xcloud, which is already available to users in various countries. In India, Microsoft had announced a partnership with Reliance Jio for Xcloud.The company has also started to move away from the traditional sales model for its software, turning to the subscription model for its popular software such as Microsoft Office.