Soon-to-be-departing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer posted his final shareholder letter recently, calling it a "unique letter" as it was the last such letter he will write as the CEO of the company he loves. In his previous shareholder letter, Ballmer introduced the software developer's new goal to transform into a devices and services company. After a "pivotal" fiscal year, this year's letter summarized for shareholders just how far the company is along that path, its strategy, and just where it is headed.
Ballmer said that Microsoft
's strategy is to have "high-value activities enabled by a family of devices and services." He re-emphasised the singular focus of innovation, efficiency and speed with the 'One Microsoft' stratagem, where the company as a whole brings together these devices (which will include those from Microsoft's partners) and services for both individuals and businesses, at home, at work and on the go.
Continuing on the strategy, Ballmer said Microsoft will "primarily monetize" its high-value activity venture by "leading with devices and enterprise services". Consumer services such as Bing and Skype will serve to differentiate devices and generate revenue from advertising and subscriptions. With enterprise services, Microsoft will continue to help business of all sizes modernize and embrace new capabilities.
Ballmer then spoke about how in the past year Microsoft has taken steps towards making the abovementioned goals possible, from reshuffling the organisation's structure, to a new segment-reporting framework that will give valuable insight into its progress. The announced purchase of Nokia's Devices and Services business
was also considered a milestone, and
Ballmer said it was "a signature event in our transformation and will bring together the best mobile device work of Microsoft and Nokia. It will accelerate our growth with Windows Phone while strengthening our overall device ecosystem and our opportunity."
Ballmer stressed that he was optimistic about Microsoft's near future, when it will bring to market Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets, the Surface 2, the Xbox One and new phones, apart from upgraded Windows Server, Windows Azure, Microsoft Dynamics and Office 365 services for the enterprise.
In his closing words, Ballmer said (complete shareholder letter
With the decisions we've made this year, the strategy we've put in place, the organization we've designed, the world-class talent we have, and the devices and services we are creating, we are well-positioned to deliver growth and world-changing technology long into the future.
We have seen incredible results in the past decade -- delivering more than $200 billion in operating profit. I'm optimistic not only as the CEO but as an investor who treasures his Microsoft stock.