Originally Posted by Nathanael
Expected by whom, I wonder. Outside of its two core products -- Windows and Office -- the number of successful products MS has ever had rounds off to as nearly zero as no matter.
Every time MS tries to do hardware (Zune, anyone? Kin Phone? Slate? Windows Home Server? Tablet PC? SmartWatch? WebTV?) or simply break out of the desktop, it fails miserably (well, OK, X-Box is starting to pull in some serious cash, after a decade as a monetary sinkhole).
Note that Surface is Redmond's *third* attempt to do a tablet. The only surprise will be if they actually succeed this time 'round. MS's track record suggests it has never understood mobile. Maybe never will.
Windows 8 is a decent product -- for mobile devices (I wouldn't want Metro on my desktop). But it's just MS playing catch-up in a market that has at least a three-year head start. Fortunately, Microsoft has piles of money it can burn through as it waits for traction.
Part of Microsoft's issues are with it's marketing. The Zune was a fantastic product. I still have my Zune 80 and I still think it beats my iPhone 4s as a media player hands down. It didn't sell well enough to keep it around, but a lot of the interface features have shown up again in the XBox and Windows 8 phones. Poor sales and marketing does not mean the product was a miserable failure.
And some of their more minor / less hyped products are fantastic as well. I put them up with Logitech as the most reliable manfacturers of mice and keyboards, for example.
Visual Studio is a HUGE development platform.
Lots of their server backend products are industry standards: Exchange, SCCM etc. SQL Server is very successful and a viable competitor to Oracle.
Microsoft's successes are WAY over 'zero'. A home user probably doesn't see it as much but if you work in a large corporation then you see them all over the place.