Microsoft Store
Company typeSubsidiary
Industry
FoundedOctober 22, 2009; 14 years ago (2009-10-22)
DefunctJune 26, 2020 (2020-06-26)
FateClosed by parent
Number of locations
World: 116 stores in 4 countries and 1 territory[1]
(107 US/10 overseas)
  • United States: 106
  • Canada: 8
  • Australia: 1
  • United Kingdom: 1
  • Puerto Rico: 1
Key people
Products
ParentMicrosoft
Websitewww.microsoftstore.com
A Microsoft Store bearing the 2009–2012 logo
Microsoft Store in Yorkdale, Toronto, the first store located outside the U.S.
Microsoft Store in Sydney

Microsoft Store was a chain of retail stores and is an online shopping site, owned and operated by Microsoft and dealing in computers, computer software, and consumer electronics.

The Microsoft Store offered Signature PCs and tablets like the Microsoft Surface, and offerings from third parties such as Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and VAIO without demos nor trialware (pre-installed free trials of certain third-party software that expire after a limited time). It also offered Windows (most retail versions), Microsoft Office, and Xbox One game consoles, games, and services including on-site Xbox diagnostics. The Answers Desk helped to answer questions related to Office, Windows, and other Microsoft products; the stores also offered class sessions as well as individual appointments.

The first two Microsoft Stores opened within a week of the Windows 7 launch, in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Mission Viejo, California.[2] Additional stores opened in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. At the 2011 Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft announced that they intended to open 75 new stores in the next three years.[3]

The first store outside the U.S. (and the first of eight stores in Canada) opened in Toronto on November 16, 2012,[4] while the first store outside North America (and first store in Asia-Pacific and second flagship store[5]) opened in Sydney, Australia, on November 12, 2015.[6] In September 2017, the company announced a store on Regent Street in London, England.[7]

On June 26, 2020, Microsoft announced that it would close all of its physical stores once COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted, and transition to a digital-only model. Four stores in New York City, Sydney, London, and Redmond would be renovated into "experience centers".[8]

History

Microsoft's first retail store was located in the Metreon in San Francisco. It was owned and operated by Sony Retail Entertainment[9] and ran from 1999[10] to 2001.[11]


In 2009, Microsoft built a "Retail Experience Center" in their Redmond, Washington, headquarters[12] and announced plans to build its own retail stores.[13] On October 22, 2009, the same day as the Windows 7 launch, Microsoft opened a retail store in Scottsdale, Arizona. A week later, another opened in Mission Viejo, California. Five additional stores were opened in 2010. A ninth store opened in Atlanta in May 2011, with two more openings planned in Houston and Los Angeles by the end of June.

The majority of Microsoft Stores were closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[14] On June 26, 2020, Microsoft announced that it would permanently close all of its physical retail stores in favor of a digital marketplace. Four stores would be renovated into "experience centers": New York City, Sydney, London, and Redmond.[8]

Shopping experience

The Microsoft Store was similar to the popular Apple Store concept, which has been largely successful.[15] The concept aims to give a greater level of customer satisfaction both by only having sales staff as well as by employing "Technical Advisers" (similar to Apple's "Geniuses") to assist customers with technical questions and issues. In addition, "Specialists" (or trainers) were employed to show customers how to get the most out of their software. Xbox One consoles were also available to entertain patrons.

Retail locations

Map of Microsoft Store locations in the United States

There were Microsoft Store retail locations throughout the U.S., seven in Canada, one in Sydney, Australia, and one in London, England, which were converted to Experience Centers. Recently Microsoft has opened Microsoft Company Stores in Redmond and at its Silicon Valley Campus that are open to the public.

Other formats

Microsoft Specialty Stores

In May 2013, Microsoft began to launch mall kiosk locations known as Microsoft Specialty Stores, expanding upon the Surface-focused pop-up stores established during the launch of Windows 8. They featured a smaller product offering, with a particular focus on the Surface and Windows Phone product lines.

In June 2019, Microsoft closed all Specialty Store locations.[16]

Best Buy Windows Stores

On June 13, 2013, Microsoft announced a partnership with the Best Buy chain to replace their Best Buy's PC departments with The Windows Store (unrelated to the Windows Store software distribution platform) at 600 locations in the United States and Canada, by September 2013. The store-within-a-store showcases Windows devices, Microsoft hardware and software products (including the Office, Surface, and Xbox lines). Departments for other manufacturers (such as Apple, Google, and Samsung) remain separate from the Windows Store sections. Best Buy also pledged to add 1,200 Microsoft-trained sales associates to its stores and to stock more accessories for Microsoft-related products, such as Windows Phone devices.[17]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Store List - Microsoft Store". Microsoft. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  2. ^ Microsoft News (2009-08-07). "Behind these walls in Scottsdale & Mission Viejo, the first Microsoft retail stores". Twitter. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  3. ^ "Microsoft will open 75 new stores within 3 years". CNET News.
  4. ^ Kopun, Francine (15 November 2012). "Microsoft's first Canadian retail store to open at Yorkdale: Sneak peek". Toronto Star. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Microsoft's Sydney Flagship Store: The Massive New Focus on Service" (Press release). Techly. 2015-11-12. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  6. ^ "All eyes on Australia: First Microsoft flagship store in Asia Pacific lands in Sydney" (Press release). Microsoft. 2015-04-21. Retrieved 2015-04-21.
  7. ^ Brown, Matt (21 September 2017). "Microsoft to open its first UK retail store in London [Updated]". Windows Central. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  8. ^ a b Liao, Shannon (June 26, 2020). "Microsoft is closing all of its stores". CNN Business. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  9. ^ "Microsoft Debuts microsoftSF Retail Environment At San Francisco's Metreon Sony Entertainment Center" (Press release). Microsoft. 1999-06-16. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  10. ^ Brown, Janelle (1999-06-29). "The consumer incarnation of Microsoftiness". Salon. Retrieved 2010-11-28. [dead link]
  11. ^ Junnarkar, Sandeep (2001-11-01). "Xbox due, Microsoft exits Sony-owned mall". CNET News. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  12. ^ Miller, Paul (2009-01-13). "Microsoft builds pretend retail store, wants to play house later". Engadget. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  13. ^ Lilly, Paul (2009-02-13). "It's Official: Microsoft Brand Store Fronts Coming Soon". MaximumPC. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  14. ^ Schuetz, Molly; Bass, Dina (June 26, 2020). "Microsoft to Close Retail Stores Permanently in Digital Bet". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  15. ^ Olivarez-Giles, Nathan (2010-11-26). "For some, the Microsoft Store concept is a puzzle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
  16. ^ "Microsoft continues its kiosk kick, will open new 'specialty stores'". CNET News. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Microsoft to launch dedicated Windows stores in Best Buys". ZDNet. Retrieved 14 June 2013.