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Microsoft has spent the past year or so pivoting to a cloud-first strategy for many of its products. Even Windows 10 on the desktop has taken on some decidedly cloud-like (and not necessarily welcome) features, such as forced updates and increased background telemetry reporting on how you’re using the OS. You could argue the way Windows 8 forced tablet mode on desktops, Windows 10 seems to force the cloud-like “always updated” model on desktops.

When it comes to Wall Street, though, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had some harsh words for the company at its annual shareholder’s meeting, Bloomberg reports — specifically, that Microsoft should disclose margins and sales numbers for both its cloud and hardware businesses.

“It’s sort of a key metric — if they talk about it as key to the company, they should report it,” Ballmer said to Bloomberg. He characterized as “bullshit” the company’s use of an annualized revenue run rate, which describes sales over a certain period of time extrapolated to a yearly rate, instead of pure revenue numbers by division, which would give a clearer picture of how each of the company’s individual businesses are actually performing.

And it’s clear Microsoft is doing this for a reason. Hardware has never been as profitable for the company as software like Windows and Office has, and cloud services are also known to be less profitable as well.

The Bloomberg report also said current CEO Satya Nadella addressed a question from the audience regarding the lack of Windows Phone apps. Nadella said that the company wants to court Windows developers by letting them write so-called Universal Apps that work across all devices, including computers, phones, and tablets. In response, Ballmer said “That won’t work,” and that Windows Phones need to run Android apps in order to stay competitive.

Well, that was the plan, remember. Microsoft initially promised Windows 10 phones would run Android and iOS apps back at the company’s Build conference. Then, it inexplicably canned the project, saying that the Android tool, dubbed Astoria, wouldn’t be available any time soon and is on hold indefinitely. The underlying Android subsystem has also been removed from the latest Windows 10 build.

At the time, a Microsoft spokesperson said the following to Windows Central:

“We’re committed to offering developers many options to bring their apps to the Windows Platform, including bridges available now for Web and iOS, and soon Win32. The Astoria bridge is not ready yet, but other tools offer great options for developers.”

It’s questionable whether Ballmer’s right about running Android under emulation, as emulation is never the best way to present an app and often means the app in question won’t sport the native platform’s best UI features. Regardless of the tack Microsoft takes with Windows 10 on the mobile side, it’s pretty clear the platform is still going nowhere fast.

  • Stan

    Have you stopped to think that maybe the talk universal apps is just smoke and mirrors, to keep windows phones in the news? If the rumors are true that a surface phone is in the works and it will run on intel atom or a new variant of the intel desktop chip. Then phone apps will be unnecessary. You could run desktop apps on you intel powered phone, with no need to develop new apps. This would bypass the need to have phone app development in the first place and set up MS and Windows 10 to dominate the handheld PC wars. With Apple and Google spending so much time trying to build two platforms. MS will pass them both up with a handheld pc running windows able to function a as a pc, phone, tablet and desktop when plugged into. Continuum?

  • GaryOC

    Journalists absolutely hated Ballmer when he was in charge of Microsoft and now they hang off every word he says and quote him as if he has now become the only one that really knows what Microsoft should do.
    That says all you need to know about journalists 🙁

  • Liberal Desi

    I am a big MS fan. But, Ballmer was right. MS is playing with numbers. They now report under three groups and making it extremely difficult for us to find where MS is making money or losing money.

    Almost every product that is coming from MS was developed under Ballmer. I have researched to see what new product started development under Satya. I could find nothing to his credit.

    PS: Before you call me a racist for speaking against Satya, please not that I am an Indian.