re: Ballmer's CES Keynote: Nothing To Seacrest Here
Microsoft was NEVER a consumer products company.
It rose to be a darling of the corporate accountants in the '70s by creating a multi-source alternative to the IBM juggernaut in the computer ecosystem, (Incidentally, that's why Apple was never considered as a serious provider of computing products after the arrival the the PC ecosystem, it was juts ONE company and the accountants hated that.)
Microsoft was never considered as anything other than a software product, which it is, and it was something which was a vendor problem and not even carried on the books as a line item for years until long after their vendors' introduction onto corporate desktops.
Microsoft rode to its position by being someone else's desktop problem, and that's where it will stay until things INSIDE OF MICROSOFT change. The problem is that the accountants still hold sway over Microsoft's market and the accountants response is to cut costs at all cost, which forces their vendors to cut costs at all cost, so there's no money left for R&D, unlike Apple which enjoys huge markups but produces what consumers want,
Now that were heading into a post PC world, one where individuals purchase their own media consumption platforms, the accountants no longer hold any sway and Apple, having rid itself of the image of being a mere PC maker, is free to make products that IT wants to.