This fall will be big for Microsoft, with the launch of Windows 8, its own branded Surface tablet, Windows Phone 8 and various cloud offerings.
But with the big launches come big risks.
Microsoft outlined some of those risk factors in its 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Among the things the company said:
- “We derive substantial revenue from licenses of Windows operating systems on personal computers. The proliferation of alternative devices and form factors, in particular mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, creates challenges from competing software platforms. … Users may increasingly turn to these devices to perform functions that would have been performed by personal computers in the past. Even if many users view these devices as complementary to a personal computer, the prevalence of these devices may make it more difficult to attract applications developers to our platforms. In addition, our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.”
- “A growing part of our strategy involves cloud-based services used with smart client devices. … While we believe our expertise, investments in infrastructure, and the breadth of our cloud-based services provide us with a strong foundation to compete, it is uncertain whether our strategies will attract the users or generate the revenue required to be successful.”
- “In fall 2012, we are launching Windows 8… Its success depends on a number of factors including the extent to which customers embrace its new user interface and functionality, successfully coordinating with our OEM partners in releasing a variety of hardware devices that take advantage of its features, and attracting developers at scale to ensure a competitive array of quality applications. We expect to incur substantial marketing costs in launching Windows 8 and associated services and devices…”