Microsoft holds meeting for financial analysts


Microsoft provided a webcast of its financial analysts' meeting.

"We look forward to being able to share with you the journey we're on as we transition this company," said Amy Hood, Microsoft's chief financial officer. CEO Steve Ballmer is preparing to step down, so Hood addressed it simply by saying, "While I know you have lots of questions on that. I wanted to go ahead and let you to know there will be no further update on that today."

Still, the CEOs of Facebook, Box and Yahoo have all weighed in. When asked who he thought should be the next CEO of Microsoft, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, "When I was growing up, Bill Gates was my hero."

"Somebody who understands the soul of the company, and the sort of deep background. I think you know who I'm talking about. I'm talking about 'Clippy,'" said Box CEO Aaron Levie.

When asked if she would like to see Gates come back Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer said, "I think he's a phenomenal leader and there's nothing quite like the passion of a founder."

"I don't think Bill Gates is going to come back in as much as many people would like to see him," said Engadget senior associate editor Michael Gorman. He said Gates is on the selection committee. "You know, if he wanted it, he could have it, it would be his already."

The changing of the guard comes amid other changes, including brand new logos for Microsoft and its Bing search engine, and a new retail look with sprawling displays inside 500 Best Buy stores.

"Partnering with Best Buy was an obvious choice. They are the number one retailer of PCs in the U.S. In fact, 70 percent of Americans live within 10 minutes of a Best Buy," said Christopher Flores, a Microsoft spokesman.

No more tall shelves or narrow aisles. Microsoft wants to invite you in to look and to touch, putting the personal back in personal computers.

"In the world of PC computing today, one size no longer fits all," said Flores.

Out in front is the Microsoft Surface.

"Definitely the most versatile tabs that are on the market today," said Flores.

The ads take aim at Apple's iPad. But Surface sales have lagged, even after a price drop. Now, they'll let you trade in your iPad.

However, Microsoft will make more hardware with the $7 billion purchase of struggling phone maker Nokia.

"I think priority one for Microsoft right now is mobile. I mean they're number three, and it's a distant three," said Gorman.

But Microsoft is strong in the living room. Expect November's new Xbox to come with new reasons to have a windows phone.

"Laptops and tablets and Microsoft phones and Xboxes can all work together in incredible ways," said Flores.

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