As we’ve observed recently, Microsoft has really become a tale of two companies: An unstoppable juggernaut in the enterprise cloud and software market and a comparative 90-pound weakling in a consumer electronics market dominated by Apple and Samsung. Now it seems that the top investment advisor of Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has started pushing Microsoft to cut its losses in the consumer market and embrace its identity as an enterprise-centric software company.
As Forbes notes, the head of Allen’s private investment vehicle recently told the Financial Times Investment Management Summit that Microsoft’s consumer electronics and search businesses were hurting the company’s bottom line and should be jettisoned going forward.
“The search business and even Xbox, which has been a very successful product, are detracting from [the success of the enterprise unit],” said Paul Ghaffari, who manages Allen’s $15 billion fortune. “We would want them to focus on their best competencies. My view is there are some parts of that operation they should probably spin out, get rid of, to focus on the enterprise and focus on the cloud.”
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that he doesn’t think it would be wise for Microsoft to abandon the consumer software market to Apple and Google although he’ll be retiring within the next year and Microsoft will have a chance for a fresh start.