In late June, Microsoft said it would permanently close its chain of 82 retail stores after temporarily shuttering them in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s an ignominious end to a failed experiment and attempt by Microsoft to try and build some of same cachet as the Apple Store.

But Microsoft’s largely humdrum hardware never inspired the same devotion as Apple’s devices. And Microsoft could never outmarket Apple — the Microsoft Store never came up with the equivalent of the Genius Bar, and the stores were never destinations in and of themselves like Apple Stores have been.

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