The last line dance: Microsoft closes its stores

So long and thanks for... Uh, well, so long.


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Lost in the hubbub of WWDC and Apple’s announcement of its switch to its own processors for Macs is sad news from the Pacific Northwest.

“Microsoft is permanently closing its retail stores.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Tay.)

People will long remember this day as the day the line dancing died.

One can hope, anyway.

As this be-horned observer wrote 11 years ago when Microsoft first got into opening stores that were always oddly close to an Apple Store:

…the Macalope is kind of wondering if Microsoft really has a plan here beyond “MUST COMPETE WITH APPLE. CRUSH. KILL. DESTROY.”

It always seemed like the reason Microsoft opened stores was because Apple had stores and Steve Ballmer’s favorite song was “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)” and please don’t bother fact-checking the Macalope on that, he is 100 percent sure that is actually Ballmer’s favorite song because he read it on a restroom wall outside of Redmond, WA.

Satya Nadella runs a Microsoft that is less like a shirtless sportsball fan in a rainbow wig yelling “HOME TEAM! YEAAAAH!” You may wonder why we don’t hear from the Winotaur much anymore. It’s not because he got lost in the maze of Windows version releases he lives in. Well, not just because of that. It’s also because the company is more and more just doing its own thing.

There are those who say that the Winotaur was Steve Ballmer. The Macalope can’t comment to that point. He certainly was in spirit.

It’s definitely the right time to close these stores because who wants to be in the retail business right now? The Macalope had to postpone the launch of his high-end alfalfa retail showrooms — ‘Falfa Factory — until… let’s see, just checking the calendar here… uh, never.

Craig, is that right? We canceled the store completely?

Apparently we canceled the store completely. Okay.

Also, the Macalope is hearing that he does not have an assistant named Craig. Or, in fact, any assistant at all. This is all very disappointing news.

According to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, “physical stores generated negligible retail revenue for Microsoft.” Which, if you’ve ever walked past one, will not come as a surprise. There’s a reason they had the room and the time to do the line dancing. Microsoft Stores during the Ballmer era were often just pointless stunt centers, where they’d do things like offer you $200 to ditch your iPhone for a Windows Phone. They regained some dignity under Nadella, but never gained much traffic.

Look, we’ll always be able to laugh about the Microsoft Store. No one can ever take that away from us, Ilsa. But don’t laugh about Microsoft closing them. Because this is absolutely the right decision.

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