Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated in a letter to shareholders that the software giant now sees itself as a devices and services company. Some OEMs like Acer made it very clear that they don't like Microsoft's Surface tablet plans one bit, but that won't stop the company from launching more Microsoft-branded devices. In the letter, Ballmer makes it clear that there will be times when Microsoft will build specific devices for specific purposes, and that they will focus relentlessly on delivering "delightful, seamless experiences across hardware, software and services".
Last year in this letter I said that over time, the full value of our software will be seen and felt in how people use devices and services at work and in their personal lives. This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves — as a devices and services company. It impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses. The work we have accomplished in the past year and the roadmap in front of us brings this to life.
Devices With End-User Services
We will continue to work with a vast ecosystem of partners to deliver a broad spectrum of Windows PCs, tablets and phones. We do this because our customers want great choices and we believe there is no way one size suits over 1.3 billion Windows users around the world. There will be times when we build specific devices for specific purposes, as we have chosen to do with Xbox and the recently announced Microsoft Surface. In all our work with partners and on our own devices, we will focus relentlessly on delivering delightful, seamless experiences across hardware, software and services. This means as we, with our partners, develop new Windows devices we'll build in services people want. Further, as we develop and update our consumer services, we'll do so in ways that take full advantage of hardware advances, that complement one another and that unify all the devices people use daily. So right out of the box, a customer will get a stunning device that is connected to unique communications, productivity and entertainment services from Microsoft as well as access to great services and applications from our partners and developers around the world.
A great example of this shift is Windows 8. Windows 8 will come to market Oct. 26, 2012, with beautiful hardware that will light up with our consumer cloud services. Windows 8 unites the light, thin and fun aspects of a tablet with the power of a PC. It's beautiful, it's functional, and it's perfect for both personal and professional use. Xbox Music, Video, Games and SmartGlass apps make it possible to select a movie from a PC, start playing it on the TV, and finish watching it on a phone. SkyDrive, our cloud storage solution, effortlessly connects content across a user's devices. Bing's powerful search technologies in Windows 8 will help customers get more done. Skype has a beautiful new Windows 8 app and connects directly into the new Office.
Office, too, is taking a major leap forward. The new Office was designed from the ground up for Windows 8 and takes full advantage of new mobile form factors with touch and pen capabilities. It unlocks new experiences for reading, note taking, meetings and communications and brings social directly into productivity and collaboration scenarios. The combination of a Windows 8 tablet with OneNote and SkyDrive has truly revolutionized how to take notes, annotate documents and share information. The ultimate experience with the new Office for both consumers and businesses will come when it is paired with a Windows 8 device and delivered as a cloud subscription service with Office 365.