Ballmer has never breathed such blasphemy. But he'd better, Gillen contended, even though it would be painful.
"On devices like tablets and phones, the operating system is a differentiator," said Gillen. "But customers have zero visibility as to the OS [on a device]." While people may recognize "iPhone" or "Galaxy," and refer to the devices by those names, most would be hard-pressed to name "iOS" or "Android" as the operating system.
"That'll be tough," Gillen said of Microsoft walking away from "Windows" as a self-expression of the company to focus on devices and services. "It's built so much brand equity around Windows."
Yet that's the path Microsoft should walk. "Microsoft will be a lot healthier and prepared to create and compete in new markets, rather than just defend its legacy markets, when the brand 'Microsoft' becomes more important [and] prominent at Redmond than the brand 'Windows,'" Gillen said.