Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg
if Microsoft becomes a devices and services company, Linux will be looking better.
Microsoft has *always* been a software *tools*and virtualization company. In their world, everything has an API and SDK, and everything is programmable. (Even Word Processors and Drawing programs--witness the evolution of Visio once they took it over.)
Skydrive and Hotmail/Outlook are just components of the real "services" product they are developing; Windows Azure. And minor ones at that.
What Ballmer was buzz-wording about is that MS is looking to grow in two new (for them) directions; consumer devices and corporate hosting services. XBOX, Surface, and other gadgets will reach out directly to consumers in markets where OEM partnerships are a liability and the corporate services will reach out to business looking to get rid of their data centers and attendant overhead.
The middle ground of packaged software and OEM-supplied hardware will continue as usual; it's just MS playing the usual game of "what's mine is mine, everything else is negotiable." PCs and Servers are their domain and they have no intention of giving it away--they are not SGI--but they aren't going to keep on handicapping themselves by playing the OEM game in other markets. If that means playing Apple and Google's games, they'll do it. (Just like they played Sony's game to get into the fight for the living room, a place where neither Apple nor Google has had meaningful success.)
That is what Surface is about and what Azure is about; playing new games in new ways. Different tools for different markets.
The strategy is fine. The tactics and execution? Time will tell.