The company plans to convert four of its retail locations - in New York, London, Sydney, and at its corporate headquarters in Redmond, Wash. - into "Microsoft Experience Centers", which will showcase products like the Surface computers and Xbox game console but not sell them. It's not clear if jobs will be lost, but apparently retail staff will be moved to other facilities or work remotely to continue providing customer support.
Five locations from across the world will be repurposed to "serve all customers".
According to its website, Microsoft has 83 stores worldwide, including 72 stores in the USA, and several others overseas where they showcase and sell laptops and other hardware.
Much of that business continued online, Porter wrote, while stores have closed because of the pandemic.
The charge, of 0.05 cents per share, includes primarily asset write-offs and impairments.
Microsoft will be investing more into its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com as well as the Xbox and Windows 10 stores. The retail team has hosted over 14,000 online workshops and summer camps. The evolution of our workforce ensured we could continue to serve customers of all sizes when they needed us most, working remotely these last months. "Speaking over 120 languages, their diversity reflects the many communities we serve".
Have you ever been in a Microsoft Store? "The team has a proven track record of attracting, motivating, and developing diverse talent". But analysts were undeterred and remained bullish on the company's outlook.
In the announcement, Porter noted that the focus is going to be on digital storefronts once Microsoft Stores are closed.
In the past decade or so, Microsoft began to expand its retail presence in an effort to create a shopping experience similar to Apple's, where people could go to try new Microsoft software and hardware created by both Microsoft and its partners.