Ballmer promises more Microsoft hardware as part of 'fundamental shift'

Ballmer promises more Microsoft hardware as part of 'fundamental shift'Microsoft has always been first and foremost a software company – the secret's right there in the name, really – and to this day its key products remain software based: Windows, Office, Windows Phone... the list goes on.

But CEO Steve Ballmer has served notice that “a fundamental shift” is taking place within the Microsoft that will see the company increasingly split its focus between both hardware and software down the line.

In a letter to shareholders, Ballmer described his vision of Microsoft as an agile company equally adept at producing class-leading devices as it is at developing the software running on board.

Ballmer said he believed Microsoft's strength was in its ability to be a “devices and services company”, and said this philosophy “impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses”.

“There will be times when we build specific devices for specific purposes, as we have chosen to do with Xbox and the recently announced Microsoft Surface,” he went on to say. “In all our work with partners and on our own devices, we will focus relentlessly on delivering delightful, seamless experiences across hardware, software and services. This means as we, with our partners, develop new Windows devices we’ll build in services people want.”

Sounds just peachy, except that those partners don't seem to share the enthusiasm. And if, as has been rumoured, Microsoft intends to extend this “fundamental shift” in approach to the smartphone market by releasing an own-brand Windows Phone, you can't see its relationship with any of its WinPho partners – especially its bond with special friend Nokia – continuing undamaged.

Ballmer's comments are the latest example of a slightly worrying habit of changing the message to suit those hearing it. He has given Nokia preferred partner status on Windows Phone, only to name HTC's rival 8X the flagship device for the platform, while squeezing a good word in for Samsung at regular interviews.

Similarly, it's already a couple of years behind Apple on getting its tablet OS aspirations off the ground, yet has already hamstrung its partners' efforts to close the gap for Windows-based tablets by showing off its own Surface tablet at the earliest possible opportunity.

And besides, wasn't it just a couple of years ago that Ballmer was telling everyone willing to listen (and most of us who weren't too) that Microsoft was going “all-in on the cloud”. Easy for him to say – half the time it sounds like his head is already there.

Via Slashgear

Read more about: Windows 8Windows PhoneMicrosoft Surface RT

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Simes123  Oct. 10, 2012 at 23:29

For all the slating MS get, they are still a successful company. They would be naive not to have noticed Apple's success with a closed hardware and software eco-system, and I'll be keen to see an alternative to Apple in this space. I'm not an Android fan, and although I'm an iPhone owner, I'm not keen on the direction Apple are taking with feature regression for older models. That you could upgrade older models to the same software standard was what engendered my loyalty, despite the loss of "value" in the closed ecosystem vs the Android alternatives. Premium Hardware from MS - hopefully in the form of a Surface Phone to complement a Surface Tablet, appeals to me greatly as an alternative to turn to next. Competition is always good; I like the look of Win8 and if they can get App Development traction, I see this direction for MS as very positive for the market. I hope they don't screw it up by getting too greedy too soon. All corporations do in the end - loyal only to shareholders. Apple did have the right balance I thought, but greediness through obvious feature regression in IOS6 for older models,funky connector changes with Lightning, and silly spats with Google that leave us, the consumer, worse off are making them ugly. I'd like an alternative please.

SpeedyG  Oct. 11, 2012 at 00:21

Very true Simes123. More competition, even if it's from Microsoft is good for the market.

WP8 Has a long way to go tho and really needs to hit the ground running after it's WP7 base slowly dissipates over time.

JanSt / MOD  Oct. 11, 2012 at 07:10

simed, can you explain what exactly you mean by feature revression? Can you give us some example?
Also, if more competition is, as you say, good, then why are the 'spats' with Google 'silly'?

Treab  Oct. 11, 2012 at 07:46

simed, can you explain what exactly you mean by feature revression? Can you give us some example?
Also, if more competition is, as you say, good, then why are the 'spats' with Google 'silly'?

Im guessing by feature regression its stuff like siri on the iphone 4... in order to give the new phone a visible gimmick...

and spats with google probably the patent lawsuits which aren't helping anyone..

JanSt / MOD  Oct. 11, 2012 at 08:25

I disagree.

Stelph  Oct. 11, 2012 at 09:43

[quote]Im guessing by feature regression its stuff like siri on the iphone 4... in order to give the new phone a visible gimmick..

Yes that was, and still is, a really annoying and stupid decision by Apple esepcially since it has come to light just how capable the iPhone 4 and even 3GS was at running Siri (since all the heavy lifting was done server side.

TBH I can see a danger with microsoft doing an apple, for one I suspect on eof the drivers behind this is microsoft is looking enviously at the price premium that Apple products has over it own, I REALLY hope they arent deluded into thinking they can price match and be competitive with apples sales (we shall see if this is true when the surface is launched, if MS launches at the same price as the iPad there could be trouble ahead)

JanSt / MOD  Oct. 11, 2012 at 10:24

lets not forget that Siri was a BETA product when it launched on the 4S. #


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