COVID-19 is pushing big tech companies like Microsoft to re-imagine how they conduct business.

Businesses from all industries have suffered from required closings and social distancing, but will tech companies survive this huge change? Apple was recently forced to temporarily close around 30 stores in 5 states due to spikes in the virus. Although Apple is claiming these measures are only temporary, many companies are deciding to go ahead and migrate to majority online retail. The biggest name making this change is Microsoft.

Microsoft just announced they will be permanently closing all of their retail stores except for four locations. The locations that have been chosen to remain open will be turned into “Experience Centers” similar to their headquarters. Flagship locations in Sydney, New York City, London, and Redmond will be the only Microsoft stores left for tech enthusiasts and customers to visit.

The tech giant mentioned they have been seeing their online sales grow over the past few years, therefore it seems COVID-19 was the final push they needed to finally pull the trigger to decrease the number of brick and mortar locations. It would not be surprising to see other technology and gaming brands follow suit. After all, stores like Apple and Microsoft revolve around customers interacting with the merchandise and testing out screens, keyboards, and gaming systems. That kind of contact will not be possible while businesses and individuals have to remain conscious of spreading germs.

Microsoft did reveal that the adjustment will result in “a pretax charge of about $450 million, or 5 cents per share, taken in the current quarter ending June 30” according to CBS News. Although this is a bold move during a fragile economy, analysts agree that the shift is an overall wise decision.

With Coronavirus cases increasing all around the country, it is just a matter of time before companies from all industries completely change the way they conduct business in order to adapt to the “new normal”.

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