05
+3%
59,546 $m
Technology
Microsoft has made significant strides in streamlining and integrating its broad portfolio, announcing in July 2013 its “One Microsoft” corporate restructuring that embraces a holistic brand approach across product lines. While CEO Steve Ballmer had talked retirement in 2017 or so, he surprised market watchers, announcing in August 2013 that he plans to retire within the next year. Anticipation is high, yet questions remain as the brand shifts from a software to hardware business. It’s also making a bigger bet on mobile with its USD $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s cellphone business. As it continues to move forward with One Microsoft and its commitment to innovation with category-topping R&D spend, its efforts may help in recovery from lackluster reception of Windows 8 and its companion Surface tablet. The brand struggles as consumer demand evolves past traditional PCs, but bold retail strategies like creating more than 600 Windows store experiences within Best Buy locations and price adjustments for Surface were deployed to help accelerate interest and adoption. Despite the brand’s challenges, demand is nonetheless increasing for Microsoft’s products and services with business audiences. Its Server and Tools division showed strong performance and Microsoft hopes to challenge Amazon in the enterprise cloud and managed infrastructure segments. Microsoft’s Business division, which is responsible for the Office software suite, also performed well over the last year. As Microsoft continues to push on multiple fronts, the brand’s responsiveness to the sometimes conflicting needs of the PC ecosystem and the shifting mobile landscape will be critical for shaping its future.