I'm intrigued by two recent announcements and whether it means anything.
Dell announced this week it's closing all those Dell Kiosks you see in places like shopping malls. Last week, Palm announced it's closing all of its retail outlets. (Caveat to that: There are only seven actual Palm-owned stores. The others are owned by another company that operates storefronts at airports. All this means is that the Palm signage is coming down and the airport stores will just expand their inventory to other wireless brands like Blackberries, etc.)
I think the technology industry, largely run by people who are more comfortable interacting with other people from a distance in the virtual world of cyberspace (i.e. email, IM, web conferences, etc.) than in person, have a bias towards selling from a distance anyway.
Hear me out, before you point out the obvious. Bricks and Mortar stores come with overhead. Why sell that way, when you can reach more customers online and not worry about commercial rents, shrinkage and all the other headaches that come with a traditional retail space?
But just a question; do we see Gateway stores, Dell Kiosks and the likes of Palm stores come and go because there really aren't customers out there who want to touch and test the goods before they buy?