Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer on Tuesday published his annual letter to shareholders and revealed a new direction for the world’s largest software company. In addition to the Xbox and upcoming Surface tablet, Ballmer hinted that Microsoft may build more own-brand devices in the future. “There will be times when we build specific devices for specific purposes, as we have chosen to do with Xbox and the recently announced Microsoft Surface,” he wrote. BGR exclusively reported earlier this month that the Redmond, Washington-based company plans to release its own Windows Phone 8 smartphone in the coming months.
Microsoft is interested in tightly integrating its high-quality software with its own high-quality devices, similar to what Apple (AAPL) has done for years. The CEO noted that the company doesn’t plan to abandon its partners anytime soon, however.
“We will continue to work with a vast ecosystem of partners to deliver a broad spectrum of Windows PCs, tablets and phones,” he wrote. “We do this because our customers want great choices and we believe there is no way one size suits over 1.3 billion Windows users around the world.”
Ballmer sees “a remarkable amount of opportunity” ahead for Microsoft in the coming year. The CEO will continue to focus on select areas of growth such as cloud computing, establishing one platform (Windows) across PC, tablet, phone, server and cloud networks, and continuing to change how people learn, work, play and interact with one another.
“We are uniquely positioned to lead in these areas given the breadth of our devices and services portfolio, as well as our large, global partner and customer base and the growing Windows ecosystem.” Ballmer concluded. “It truly is a new era at Microsoft â€” an era of incredible opportunity for us, for the 8 million developers building apps for our devices, for the more than 640,000 partners worldwide and, most important, for the people and businesses using our products to reach their full potential.”