Aside from being one of the most hated CEOs in the world of technology, Steve Ballmer is hard at work trying to design a new world for Microsoft and the future of consumer electronics and, simultaneously, saving himself from a history of redicule.
Ballmer's ambitious claim of 400 million Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices comes along with their joint HTC announcement of the 8X and 8S, as well as the Q4 release of Windows 8, Windows 8 RT tablet, and rumors of a (much overdue) new gaming console. All of this however hinges on one man: Steve Ballmer, and he's saying Windows 8 isn't part of the bigger picture anymore, it's all about consumer electronics.
Historically, Microsoft has tried (and failed) to sell itself as a company all about licensing. They never invested far into the world of consumer electronics until the XBOX, and relied moreso on partners who'd build the equipment, and buy their software. However, the philosophy has shown strain on comapnies like Google, who cannot control the fracturing of their own product, and lacks the profitability of Apple, who can sell the whole package at whatever price they like. As a result it makes sense Microsoft is finally building products to sell with its momentum and reputation, and finally gain some ground where their partners like HTC, HP, and Dell have seen immense success.
But it may be too ambitious for Microsoft. A company that has sold licensed software for 38 years is now trying to sell electronics, and it's hard to say what the shareholders will say about it, especially with Ballmer at the helm. 2012 will be the year for Microsoft - that's for sure. While Apple's biggest hype has been the long-awaited iPhone 5, and Google has released Jelly Bean, their time is up and Microsoft has Q4 to shine like it never has shined before. Well, that is at least if Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 RT, and Xbox 720 are all the great innovations Microsoft so-claims.
In the end, Microsoft is enjoying a 3 month high in stock, and if they ride the wave of excitement as they release their multitude of products for the year, it may just be the redemption Ballmer is begging for. All that's certain is that Microsoft Surface better be all that it's cracked up to be.