The impending departure of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer signals the start of a new era for Microsoft. And if the company’s recent struggles are any indication, that era will focus heavily on mobile initiatives.
Once a leading global innovator in the tech market, Microsoft has had difficulty keeping up with Apple and Android as mobile devices become more prevalent among consumers. In many ways, Microsoft remains competitive — a recent article published by Forrester points out the company’s continued success as an enterprise solutions provider, as well as its strong cloud storage services and the popularity of its Xbox video game console.
But Microsoft has floundered with its mobile efforts. After pouring time, money and resources into its highly anticipated Surface tablet line, according to a report from CBS News, Microsoft saw its new mobile offerings result in unexpectedly low sales followed by steep discounts in an attempt to unload inventory. Meanwhile, Microsoft earnings plummeted and its stock values followed suit.
Fast-Tracking the Future
Microsoft is now focused on turning around its poor mobile performance. Steve Ballmer is expected to leave within the next 12 months; before then, the company will carefully choose its next CEO and work to ensure a smooth leadership transition.
The next Microsoft leader will be on the hook to implement fast, drastic changes that aggressively pursue a mobile revolution. According to Forrester, industry observers view Microsoft as still married to an aging PC mindset.
This reluctance to innovate comes despite the company’s early forecasting of tablets as the future of computers. As Forrester notes, Bill Gates had discussed tablet computing’s bright future as early as 2000. But under Ballmer’s leadership, the company let Apple and other competitors capture the market. Now Microsoft and its next CEO are starting over at the foot of a very tall mountain.
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