Profits at Microsoft surged 17% to $5.2 billion dollars from the same period one year ago. In response to the announcement, outgoing President Steve Ballmer issued a statement saying that, “Our devices and services transformation is progressing.” He added that Microsoft is “launching a wide range of new products” in the coming quarter. Microsoft had released several new products this quarter, including a Windows 8 upgrade, and recently purchased Nokia’s struggling mobile phone unit in an effort to turn it around,while diversifying and expanding its own position.
Microsoft also announced for the first time, sales numbers on its Surface tablet. After its launch, the company was forced to write down $900 million dollars due to sluggish sales, despite a competent and aggressive marketing campaign. The statement said sales of the Surface “grew to $400 million with sequential growth in revenue and units sold over the prior quarter”. The Surface was well reviewed and is probably the best tablet on the market but displeasure surrounding the Microsoft 8 operating system has prevented it from achieving even greater sales numbers. From personal experience, the Surface is the most functional and useful tablet for someone looking to do anything more than simply surfing the web or watching movies. There is a learning curve for Windows 8 but once competent, people will realize the simplicity and functionality of this operating system. The Surface Pro can easily double as a fully functioning laptop while remaining a simple tablet. Microsoft Office and USB port, are selling features that clearly separate it from other tablets.
With these very positive results, all eyes are now focussed on to whom will succeed Ballmer. Several names have been mentioned such as Ford President and CEO Allan Mullaly and the former head of Nokia, Stephen Elop, who is now head of Services and Devices at Nokia after resigning following the Microsoft purchase. Steve Ballmer took over the helm of Microsoft in 2000 from Bill Gates, and has had few, if any, notable successes. The company and its stock price have been lagging since that time. So either candidate would be a welcome addition.