My theory on Sinofsky's departure
There has been an internal debate within Microsoft about the direction of the company, in particular if they are a platform/services company or a Windows company.
A prime example of this is Office on iOS and Android.
Whilst one camp (i.e. Windows company) saw Office as a tool that could be used to sell Windows the other camp (i.e. platform/services company) saw Office as its own platform.
I believe Sinofsky's departure indicates that a direction for Microsoft has been chosen, and the platform/services camp won out.
I expect in the coming months and years Microsoft will work on strengthening a number of platform pillars designed to be OS agnostic.
- Media (NookCo, Xbox Music, Xbox Video)
- Communications (Skype, Lync)
- Online (Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Office Web Apps)
- Office Productivity (Office, Office 365)
- Enterprise (InTune, Exchange, SharePoint)
- Gaming (Xbox, Smart Glass)
- SAAS/IAAS/PAAS (Azure)
For Microsoft this direction may require a number of high profile acquisitions.
Microsoft's media platform could be bolstered with a popular service acquisitions in the same way as Skype improved their communications platform.
High profile targets for this area are Netflix, RDIO and Spotify.
Microsoft is almost completely missing a design/creation platform.
High profile acquisition targets for this area are Corel or more likely Adobe.
What about Windows and Surface?
My belief is that Microsoft will work simultaneously on creating the best OS agnostic platforms at the same time as ensuring Windows and Surface offer the best OS and devices to consume those services.
Admittedly, that may simply be wishful thinking :)
I think we'll be able to judge Microsoft's commitment to Windows and Surface based on their actions over the next 6-12 months.