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Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft will permanently close most of its physical retail stores, but its London, New York City, Sydney and Redmond campus locations will remain open as Microsoft showrooms dubbed "experience centers," the company announced Friday.

Why it matters: Microsoft has yet to re-open any of its physical stores since it closed them all due to the coronavirus pandemic, even as states started easing restrictions, The Verge notes.

What they're saying: "As part of our business plan, we announced a strategic change in our retail operations, including closing Microsoft Store physical locations. Our retail team members will continue to serve customers working from Microsoft corporate facilities or remotely and we will continue to develop our diverse team in support of the overall company mission and objectives," David Porter, corporate VP of Microsoft Store, said in a statement.

  • Retail associates will continue to work remotely or from Microsoft corporate facilities.

Thought bubble from Axios' tech editor Kyle Daly: After spending the 2000s and part of the 2010s trying and failing to aggressively compete against Apple on consumer devices and services, Microsoft has become an enterprise juggernaut with its professional tools and cloud services. Closing its retail locations accelerates that retreat from focusing on the consumer market.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that the locations Microsoft is keeping open will be transformed into product showrooms.

Go deeper

Oct 3, 2020 - Sports

Patriots-Chiefs game postponed after positive COVID-19 tests on both teams

Cam Newton plays against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 27 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Sunday's NFL game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs has been postponed after "positive COVID-19 tests on both teams," the league said in a statement Saturday.

Catch up quick: The Patriots confirmed Saturday morning that an unnamed player tested positive for COVID-19 Friday night and immediately quarantined, after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that quarterback Cam Newton tested positive. Several coaches, players and staff who had been in close contact with the infected player tested negative on Saturday morning, the team said.

Oct 2, 2020 - World

Australia and New Zealand to open "safe travel zone"

Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Sydney, Australia, in February. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand have agreed to "safe travel zone" plan that will be gradually rolled out, Australian Deputy PM Michael McCormack announced Friday.

Details: McCormack said the travel "bubble" will initially see Kiwis who aren't in a COVID-19 hot spot permitted to fly to New South Wales and the Northern Territory from Oct. 16 without mandatory quarantine. But NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made clear that Kiwis will have to go into quarantine upon their return.

Pence to hold campaign rally in Arizona

Vice President Mike Pence at a MAGA rally in Gilford, NH on Sept. 22. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence will hold a MAGA rally in Peoria, Arizona next Thursday, following the campaign's plan to keep the VP on the road after President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.

Why it matters: Pence, who tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday and reportedly again on Saturday, will likely be speaking to a large crowd that will not be socially distanced unless new guidelines are issued.

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