Microsoft is planning on producing more hardware, to follow on from its Surface tablet which was launched alongside Windows 8.
Ballmer did precede his comment with an assurance to third-party manufacturers that the Windows game would still primarily lie in their hands. He said: “Do I anticipate that partners of ours will build the lion’s share of all Windows devices over the next five years? The answer is, absolutely.”
But he then added: “With that said, it is absolutely clear that there is an innovation opportunity on the scene between hardware and software and that is a scene that must not go unexploited at all by Microsoft.”
So it would seem that the rumoured Surface phone may yet be a reality. What big Windows Phone 8 partner Nokia would make of Microsoft producing its own device, in a Google/Nexus style, we’re not sure.
Of course, Google’s production of the Nexus hasn’t inflamed its Android partners. Although Microsoft’s production of the Surface hybrid tablet did rather rub some of its OEM partners up the wrong way.
As the above, measured statement shows, Microsoft will be treading carefully; but the company is certainly aware of the need to press itself further into the mobile computing sphere with some urgency.