Speaking at a conference this year, Jeff Udden, founder of ValueAct, called for the company to reduce its focus on consumers. His remedy for Microsoft would involve a focus on its business customers and a move into the cloud, using its Azure operating system and investments in data centres to create the world’s leading cloud computing platform.
That argument has resonated with other investors for much of this year, contributing to a jump of more than a third in the share price and adding $80bn to Microsoft’s stock market value before last week’s rude awakening.
Like many others on Wall Street, Mr Thill still argues that the fruits of its success with business customers – such as a 12 per cent increase in deferred revenues booked in the latest quarter – show where Microsoft should refocus its efforts. “They know what they need to do, they have a playbook,” he said.