Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has talked frequently about how the company is shifting from providing mainly software into a devices-and-services company. He expounds further on his vision for Microsoft’s future in a recent interview with MIT Technology Review.
When asked what Microsoft’s vision for the future of computing is, Ballmer said: “We’re about defining the future of productivity, entertainment and communication. In the new world, software is going to have to come in kind of an integrated form — or at least a well-designed form that includes cloud services and devices.”
Ballmer also offered some interesting breakdowns on what percentage of some of its most popular products go to consumers vs. businesses. “Sixty-five percent of all PCs go to the consumer, not to the enterprise,” he said. “Seventy percent of all Office suites go to the consumer, not the enterprise. One hundred percent of all Xboxes go to the consumers, not the enterprise. Now, we’ve monetized the enterprise better than the consumer, there’s no question about that.”
As far as the company’s track record with consumer products, he said: “Is there a lack of understanding, or in some cases do I wish our execution had been better? I would say the latter. In cases where we’ve embraced end-user needs and really sort of dived in, like the things that we’ve done with Kinect and the Xbox, I think we’ve done a heck of a job. Which is not to say that we cannot do this work with our OEMs.”
He also — kind of — addressed how sales of Surface were going (Microsoft has not released sales figures for the Surface, but analysts have estimated sales of the Surface RT tablet at below a million. The Surface Pro, which has been facing apparent supply problems, launched earlier this month). In response to a question about whether he was pleased with Surface sales and whether it’s a real business, Ballmer said: “Surface is a real business. In an environment in which there’s 350 million PCs sold, I don’t think Surface is going to dominate volume, but it’s a real business.”
You can read the full interview here.