The PC is Still Microsoft’s Best Asset, says Ballmer

Microsoft’s numbers in its recent earnings call were outstanding – $16.20 billion in revenue means that the first quarter of fiscal 2011 is up 25 percent over last year. These numbers were derived mostly from the success of products with proven track records: Microsoft Office 2010, the latest game in the Halo franchise, and of course Windows 7.

During a speech at the Professional Developers Conference on Thursday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer extolled the virtues of the PC, calling it “the number one smart device on the planet today.” About 350 million new PCs have been purchased within the last year, and Microsoft has sold about 240 million licenses of Windows 7 since its launch just over a year ago.

In addition to traditional desktop and laptop PCs, Ballmer pointed to netbooks and upcoming Windows 7 tablets as examples of innovative devices in the PC space, devices that would continue to drive demand for Windows-powered devices as smartphones and tablets like the iPad gain steam in the marketplace.

While Microsoft’s greatest strength is still its core Windows and Office business, Ballmer did point to TV and to phones as being “very important” before talking up the brand-new Windows Phone 7, which has been garnering generally positive reviews. While he is “pumped” for the new mobile OS, he acknowledged that “there is a lot of activity” in the smartphone market from competitors like Google, Apple, and Research In Motion.

These numbers are pretty good, but there are definitely questions about Microsoft’s viability in the future.¬†Will Windows Phone 7 be an Xbox 360-style success for Microsoft, or a Microsoft KIN-style flop? And will either Windows Phone 7, a future update to Windows 7, or even Windows 8 be more suited to compete with iOS on tablet devices? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Sources: Tom’s Hardware, eWeek

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2 Responses to The PC is Still Microsoft’s Best Asset, says Ballmer

  1. Georgie October 31, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    Ballmer sounds like he doesn’t understand the direction the market is headed.

    Windows 7 and the x86 processor have been great for PCs. But they are not so suitable in portable ‘slate’ devices. Slates are like big phones, and you don’t want Windows 7 in a phone.

    The Windows 7 tablet is a grave mistake, because none of the apps are designed for a multitouch interface. Microsoft should have used Windows Phone 7 in the slate, but didn’t, because of in-fighting between departments within Microsoft.

    The result is that Windows Phone 7 is going to be smaller than otherwise, because the OS won’t get any slate sales. That means a smaller market for app developers.

    The whole thing is badly mismanaged. Ballmer should go.

  2. Guest November 1, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Xbox was a good “success” model to use because the problem with WP7 is it’s unlikely to make money even if it captures decent market share.

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