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Microsoft exiting Metreon

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Old Oct 27, 01, 1:04 am
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Microsoft exiting Metreon

Source: SF Chronicle

Things were hopping yesterday at the Microsoft store in San Francisco's Metreon as the software giant unveiled its new and improved Windows XP operating system. But here's the real scoop: By next week, the world's one and only Microsoft retail space will be no more.

In the face of dwindling sales and attendance -- the place has been a ghost town for months -- Microsoft and Sony (Metreon's landlord) have quietly agreed to close down the Microsoft store and replace it with, well, more of the same.

Beginning Nov. 1, MicrosoftSF, as the store is known, will give way to a newfangled retail outlet called Digital Solutions. Basically, the space will remain a tech emporium, only now it will feature a whole bunch of companies and not just serve as a shrine to one manufacturer's self-esteem.

"MicrosoftSF no longer fits with Microsoft's or Sony's core businesses," Metreon spokeswoman Kirsten Maynard told me. "It would require a significant investment from both companies to keep going."

In other words, business sucks.

"No," Maynard replied, "it's been a very successful venture from a branding perspective."

She was equally cup-is-half-full in explaining the closure last month of Metreon's upscale Montage restaurant, not to mention the current replacement of a Sanrio outlet with another Japanese toymaker and the demise this past summer of one of Metreon's premier attractions, the Way Things Work.

"This is all a sign that we're bringing in new options for our guests," Maynard said. "We don't want the same things here for years and years. We want to keep things fresh."

Seems like Metreon is doing a whole lot of freshening up these days (although signs for the closed attractions are still up everywhere). As the Microsoft store prepares to shut its doors, you can only wonder what'll be next to go.

Crowds sure are sparse at Metreon's Airtight Garage video arcade . . .

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