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!