| Tablets have also failed in the market. Apple is the only vendor to have seen some success, but that was built more upon hype and the quasi-religious attitude that many people hold toward Apple devices, rather than out of any real need or use for such devices. Outside of a small number of niche use cases, people in general have found tablets to be useless.
The niche use cases are
a) reading email
b) sending messages
c) using web apps
d) watching movies
e) playing games
which as it turns out are very common.
However it's true that Microsoft doesn't have a huge play here on the terminal (tablet end), but it does on the service end.
It just means that now such software will be expected to be readable and usable (for some things) on a tablet terminal as well as a laptop terminal. There's plenty of traveling businessmen who might want to access a service application through a tablet (e.g sales force) that starts in 2 seconds when they're in the airport instead of using the whole laptop.
For Microsoft, tablets are not an opportunity to make hardware or sell operating systems (the total global revenue from tablet operating system sales is $0), but only as another terminal to hosted applications.
They should stick to writing business software. Instead of trying to fight and lose against very capable competitors in their primary niches, i.e. Google and Apple, they should compete in the space of general business software. There's much more opportunity beyond Office. Soft targets, for example all of Oracle's horrid non-database application software, where the standards are egregiously low, and make Office seem like a work from Michelangelo.