Selling Copies of Windows and Office is not Microsoft's Future

Tim Culpan, Dina Bass, & Peter Burrows over at Bloomberg: 

Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s operating systems unit, asked HTC last month to load Windows Phone as a second option on handsets with Google Inc. (GOOG)’s rival software, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Myerson discussed cutting or eliminating the license fee to make the idea more attractive, the people said. The talks are preliminary and no decision has been made, two people said.

This would be a bold move for Microsoft. Over much of its life, Microsoft has been accustomed to having people (or companies) pay for licensed copies of its Windows operating system and the Office suite. That, however, is Microsoft's past. Microsoft isn't a software company; it is a devices and services company.

It is fitting that Microsoft has finally gotten around to releasing Office for the iPad (after previously releasing Office for the iPhone). The timing couldn't be better, especially if the news about eliminating or reducing license fees for Windows Phone is true.

The old Microsoft could not have made the decision to eliminate or reduce license fees for one of its operating systems. Granted, Windows Phone is not the crown jewel that is Windows (desktop), but the OS has been a source of revenue for Microsoft. The new Microsoft, perhaps, has realized that the future for the company is not selling licensed copies of Windows and Office, but instead earning revenue from its cloud-based services.

Folks, Windows and Office were the past. Azure and its offspring are the future of Microsoft.