Posting from Anaheim: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is speaking to financial analysts in a hotel conference room here right now, wrapping up an afternoon of presentations by Microsoft analysts about the company’s product plans and business strategy.
Addressing the company’s preview of Windows 8 this week, Ballmer said he believes the company is on the right track by bringing “the best of the PC and the best of the tablet together,” combined with cloud computing and web-0riented development technologies.
Microsoft sees tablets as PCs, and it differs in that respect from Apple, which positions the iPad as a device that exists between the traditional computer and the mobile phone.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Ballmer said about Windows 8, echoing his comments to developers this morning. However, he added, “We think we’ve got it right.”
Talking about the company’s Windows Phone operating system, Ballmer acknowledged that Microsoft hasn’t sold as many as he would have hoped, but he said he’s still optimistic, based in part on the company’s partnership with Nokia . “We’ve just got to kick this thing to the next level,” he said.
Ballmer talked briefly about Microsoft’s pending Skype acquisition, and how it relates to the company’s existing Lync communications products, which overlap in functionality. He said he expects Lync to be used primarily for communications within companies, and Skype in many other situations.
On the subject of Xbox Live, Ballmer hinted at upcoming announcements. “Beefing up what you can do with an Xbox and Kinect in terms of TV and video in all forms is very important to us,” he said, explaining that the company is “really pushing forward in a number of different dimensions.”
Microsoft’s Xbox team signaled some of these new content plans in June.
Update, 3:50 p.m.: Asked by an analyst about the state of the Microsoft-Yahoo partnership following the noisy departure of Carol Bartz as Yahoo CEO, Microsoft executives said the deal with withstand the executive change. Qi Lu, Microsoft’s online services chief, said the companies are working together as usual.
“The partnership will remain strong,” said Ballmer, no matter what direction Yahoo goes, or who succeeds Bartz as CEO.
On the subject of Microsoft Office, Ballmer indicated that Microsoft is at least considering developing a version of Office in the new “Metro” style of apps for Windows 8.