An antiquated gaming console in Xbox 360 and diminishing consumer interest on its slew of Windows-related products appeared to have conspired in Microsoft's shrinking financial hauls as shown by the software giant's latest quarterly report.
As of September 2012, the U.S. tech titan saw its revenues receding by eight per cent to $US16 billion, coming from the $US17.37 billion posted in the same period last year.
The company only netted $US4.47 billion in the initial quarter for financial year 2012-13, giving up as much as 22 per cent from the $US5.74 billion net income it had realised in Q3 2011.
Microsoft's core business, Windows, suffered revenues slips running as high as 33 per cent, with the division sales amounting to only $US3.24 billion for the same period - testament to the fact that the operating system, currently on Windows 7, was not as attractive as it used to be.
Yet the fact remains that Windows is the leading computing platform though both the Apple and Android ecosystems have been breathing down really hard on the neck of the Redmond, Washington-based software titan as shown by the declining numbers of PC shipments in the past few years.
On the other hand, mobile devices, sales and shipments, have been constantly expanding, with Apple, Google and Android handset makers reaping the benefits in a new market setting in which Microsoft is the laggard - a far cry from the mighty pace it has enjoyed from the late 1980s through the mid-2000s.
From 2007 onwards, Apple's more attractive desktops, notebooks, music players, the iPhone and the iPad lured away consumers from the Windows environment and the Cupertino, California-based company eventually snatched away Microsoft's title as the most valuable technology firm, even becoming the priciest company in the planet shortly.
The missing link, of course, for Microsoft is its weak presence in the mobile computing market, with some experts lamenting that the company's role (in Windows Phone 7) was not even felt by the industry.
While many analysts were convinced that PCs are far from being consigned to oblivion, they conceded too that the future is bleak for the once hitmaker Microsoft unless it rolls out a fresh and compelling surprise real soon.
The bet is on Windows 8, according to Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, pointing in a statement provided on Thursday that "Windows 8 is the beginning of a new era at Microsoft."
The fully-revamped and now multi-platform Windows 8 is slated for a global push out Oct 26, along with a number of smartphones and tablets powered by Microsoft's biggest thrust yet to finally make a significant push in the fierce mobile device competition.
"Investments we've made over a number of years are now coming together to create a future of exceptional devices and services, with tremendous opportunity for our customers, developers, and partners," Mr Ballmer was quoted by PC Magazine as saying.
These new efforts are best represented by the new product releases that come in the months ahead - smartphones on Windows Phone 8, tablets on Windows RT and Windows 8 plus the Microsoft Surface brick and new forms of desktops (all-in-one) and laptops (hybrids and ultrabooks).
According to Microsoft chief financial officer Peter Klein, the company is all set for the anticipated simmering battle that will commence in the final quarter of 2012.
"We will continue to offer consumers and businesses wide-ranging choices so that every user can get exactly what they want at the price that's right for them," Mr Klein said in a statement.
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