Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has talked recently about he sees the company, going forward, as one that provides devices and services.
He provided more details about that in a letter to shareholders, published today as part of Microsoft’s annual report to shareholders.
He writes in the letter:
It’s important to recognize a fundamental shift underway in our business and the areas of technology that we believe will drive the greatest opportunity in the future.
Last year in this letter I said that over time, the full value of our software will be seen and felt in how people use devices and services at work and in their personal lives. This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves — as a devices and services company. It impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses.
Ballmer took care to say that the company would continue to work with its many manufacturing partners in producing PCs, tablets and phones.
But he also said:
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.
Whether that hints at Microsoft making its own branded Windows Phone — as has been rumored recently — is anyone’s guess.
Ballmer talked in more general terms about building in services as new Windows devices are produced by Microsoft or its partners, about developing and updating consumer services to take advantage of hardware advances, and about Microsoft’s cloud offerings for businesses.