“Is it fair to say we’re going to do more hardware? Obviously we are. We did our first piece of non-Xbox hardware when we launch the Surface. Where we see important opportunities to set a new standard, yeah, we’ll dive in.”
It is in non-uncertain terms that Microsoft’s CEO Steve Balmer told the BCC that it will not hesitate to build hardware when it senses that the opportunity is right. Of course, the Xbox and Xbox 360 come to mind, but everyone wonders if and when Microsoft would release a smartphone, despite their strong alliance with Nokia. Obviously, the 7″ tablet question is also on the lips of a lot of reporters.Observers are quick to point out that this may “alienate” Microsoft hardware partners. They did so when the Microsoft Surface tablet was announced, but so far, there is no mutiny in sight. On the contrary, partners have been launching products and companies like Dell and ASUS have made it clear that they can add value despite the competition. On the other hand, they don’t really have a choice either, so they may as well go in with a positive attitude.
At this point, Microsoft Windows remains a behemoth in terms of market share, so for PC Makers, Android or Chrome OS is not an option, and Mac OS is off the table anyway. Attempts at marketing Linux computers outside of the server space have not provided a viable alternative to windows.
What hardware do you think Microsoft should build itself? A smartphone?