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Submission + - Microsoft CEO Ballmer: We're a Devices and Services Company (slashdot.org) 1

Nerval's Lobster writes: "And according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's latest shareholder letter (not exactly a gripping read), Microsoft sees itself as a “devices and services company.” The subsequent 1,200-odd words hammer that point, mentioning software such as Office and Windows 8 largely in the context of tablets and other hardware—and while Ballmer acknowledges the “vast ecosystem of partners” building a “broad spectrum of Windows PCs, tablets and phones,” he leaves the door wide open to Microsoft building its own toys in-house.

If one takes Ballmer’s words at face value, it seems that Surface, the tablet Microsoft’s building in-house and promoting as a “flagship” Windows 8 device, isn’t so much a lark but the harbinger of the company’s future direction. Whether Microsoft’s decision to build its own devices affects its long-term relationship with Dell, Hewlett-Packard and other manufacturing titans remains to be seen. Perhaps Ballmer can take some comfort from Apple, which profited enormously by pursuing the “we build everything in-house” route. But it’s indisputable that a devices-centric approach is new ground for Microsoft."

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Microsoft CEO Ballmer: We're a Devices and Services Company

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