Talking at Recode’s oddly-named code conference, former Microsoft CEO expressed one big regret from his time at the company: that they didn’t get into hardware soon enough.
“I was too slow to recognize the need for new capability, and particularly in hardware,” he told Kara Swisher. “I wish we’d built the capability to be a world-class hardware company.”
The desire to get into hardware was motivated by two things. First, because even as a software company, Ballmer said that “one of the new expressions of software is essentially hardware.” This is a theme that’s been alluded to by Microsoft’s Surface division on many occasions: Surface hardware is designed in tandem with, and to be a reflection of, Windows software, with each part showcasing the other. After early stumbles, the Surface team has produced a number of products that have been well-received and it appears to be carving out a decent niche for itself.