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Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014

Sony Store at International Plaza plans to close

Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 09:04 PM

The Sony Store at International Plaza has long been a sparkling showroom of the tech giant's HDTVs, computers, cellphones and cameras. Not for long.

Though Sony officials declined to say when, they confirmed plans to shut down the store in Tampa's luxury mall. But they added that Sony products are often sold in retail stores that another tech giant is opening up across the country, suggesting Microsoft may be eyeballing the Sony site.

"Microsoft stores do carry an assortment of Sony products," said Elizabeth Boukis, a spokeswoman for Sony.

Microsoft has been opening up dozens of stores in the United States, including several in Florida, but a Microsoft spokeswoman said they are not ready to share the exact locations yet for new sites.

Microsoft has opened, or plans to open, stores in Massachusetts, Hawaii, Oregon, Michigan and Illinois, and recently added sites in Texas, Ohio, California, Utah and Missouri. In Florida, Microsoft has opened locations in Orlando and Aventura, and has one opening soon in Miami.

Though there's no official announcement, if Microsoft did open in the Sony site at International Plaza, they would almost be within sight of the Apple store that's regularly crowded and often has lines out the door for new products.

Besides standout successes like the Microsoft Xbox, the tech giant has put more focus on direct sales of products including the Microsoft Surface tablet and a series of new smartphones that run on a Microsoft operating system.

In the retail stores, Microsoft has taken several cues from Apple by creating sleek environments that work both as a sales floor for products and as consulting hubs for customers who need help choosing a computer.

rmullins@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7919 Twitter: @DailyDeadline