Steve Ballmer, in an email to Microsoft employees today:
“Going forward, our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most.”
Now that’s interesting.
The CEO of the world’s largest software company says Microsoft will focus on devices and services.
Translation: Ballmer wants to morph Microsoft into a mix of Apple (devices) and Google (services).
Where does Windows fit into Ballmer’s plans? Well, Windows is already running on Microsoft’s three primary devices: Surface tablet, Xbox, and Windows Phone. And the current head of Windows and Surface engineering, Julie Larson-Green, is now in charge of the new Devices and Studios group.
Microsoft still builds a crapload of other products. But none are as important as those Larson-Green is now tasked with growing. Microsoft has seen clear success with the Xbox, and with the Xbox One on the horizon, should maintain their lead in the cutthroat console business.
But the Surface and Windows Phone are basically non-players in a game being dominated by Apple and Samsung. If Larson-Green can turn them around to become bona-fide competition in the smartphone and tablet markets, then Ballmer should turn over the CEO keys to her.
How much are two well-known devices worth to Apple?
The iPhone, which Ballmer famously mocked, has been around since 2007 while the iPad didn’t show up until 2010. These two products now drive more revenue and profit than every Microsoft product and service combined. In fact, the iPhone, on its own, is larger than Microsoft in terms of revenue and profit.
Ballmer finally appears to realize that mobile is the future, even for the company that built the desktop.