“Satya Nadella has enjoyed a fairly smooth ride in his first 100 days as Microsoft Corp chief executive, but he risks hitting a rough patch next week when he unveils the latest models of the tepidly received Surface tablet,” Bill Rigby reports for Reuters. “So far he has stressed the services side of the business, making the momentous move to put Microsoft’s Office suite on Apple Inc’s iPad. This was popular with Wall Street and more importantly with consumers, who performed 27 million downloads in a matter of weeks.”
“But Microsoft is expected to unveil the third generation of its Surface devices at an event on Tuesday, laying hints that it will also introduce a smaller tablet, to address the fast-selling lower end of the market dominated by Apple’s iPad mini, Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle Fire, Google Inc’s Nexus and Samsung’s Galaxy range,” Rigby reports. “The devices side of the strategy has been a challenge. Microsoft’s Surface, launched in October 2012, has about 2 percent of the market and has not made a dent on Apple’s iPad. That fits with Microsoft’s 3 percent global share in smartphones.”
“Given that tiny market, some investors believe Microsoft should not waste time and money on the low-margin hardware business. ValueAct Capital, which led the shareholder revolt last year which culminated in previous CEO Steve Ballmer’s retirement, has lobbied against Microsoft’s hardware effort, including its costly acquisition of Nokia’s handset business,” Rigby reports. “Said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, ‘If the turbulence gets too rough on the tablet and/or mobile segment, we can potentially see some strategic changes on the horizon around the hardware business.'”
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MacDailyNews Take: If Satya was smart, he’d pull the plug. Of course, if he was smart, he’d have fled the sinking hulk that is Microsoft years ago.