Steve Ballmer talks Surface, Windows 8 and the future of Microsoft

Steve Ballmer gave a very tame interview to MIT Technology Review and in it he talks about Surface, Windows 8 and Microsoft's gradual move towards an integrated devices and services company.

While talking about the Surface, Microsoft's CEO explains that this division, after being touted as a proof-of-concept division and only there to "prime the pump", has finally been upgraded to a "real business". Despite limited sales and availability, which Ballmer is very aware of, the Surface division can still hold its own. "I’m super-glad we did Surface. I think it is important—and not just for Microsoft but for the entire Windows ecosystem—to see integrated hardware and software" Ballmer said. He then goes on further "Surface is a real business. In an environment in which there are 350 million PCs being sold, I don’t think Surface 
is going to dominate volume, but it’s a real business."

The CEO also points towards Surface's future when he talks about innovation and the relationship with the OEMs. Steve Ballmer mentions "pen computing" aka using a stylus on a computer, and says that such a design has been floating around Microsoft for many years but they never managed to convince the OEMs to adopt it. Now with the Surface Pro tablet that has Wacom technology inside it, they are trying to "lead a little bit". So in the future we might see a Surface 2 tablet in which Microsoft tries to push the envelope even further while their hardware partners are still struggling to catch up, similar to what Google is doing with their Nexus program.

He also points towards Microsoft's track record on other products such as the Office suite and the Xbox line both of which cater to consumers and have record sales. Ballmer mentions that Microsoft has done a better job of monetizing the enterprise side of the business but that might soon change as the company is focused on "defining the future of productivity, entertainment, and communication—in the new world [where] software is going to have to come in kind of an integrated form. Or at least a well-designed form that includes cloud services and devices."

Of course there isn't any brand new info here, but it's quite reassuring to see Microsoft heavily focused, invested and finally coming together on a set of core products. If you'd like to read the whole interview make sure you check out the source link.

Source: MIT Technology Review

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