Re: Geared up
@nasimon- I actually think it had the vision, but not the product. Which is why it bought Nokia. I mean Bill Gates was way ahead of his time with WebTv and other parts of his whole house strategy. The idea was too soon and now to me looks like Roku or Apple TV or insert your favorite smart TV accessory here. Basically, they decided in a way that seemed to make sense for them that they were a software company. That was a highly profitable decision.
They didn't do poorly so much as they were passed by the rise of a new set of hardware. They didn't have the internal skills to do anything about it at first. I think unlike some other companies (IBM comes to mind) they did a great job of responding to threats form multiple areas (their cloud response to Amazon has been fantastic, in my opinion).
The Surface was also an amazingly good and quick response to the iPad.
Anyway, I'm not 100% sure it is fair to blame a software company for not being the first to take advantage of a new line of hardware. And when the opportunity sprung up they jumped on it. Ballmer started it. Nadella seems to be keeping them down a good road.