In terms of mobile products, 2010 was not Microsoft's best year and according to analysts it could get even worse in 2011.
A recent analyst report from Goldman Sachs says 2011 will be a challenging year for Microsoft and predicts its top-line growth to fall from 12 percent to seven percent. Sarah Friar, the analyst at Goldman Sachs responsible for the note, says the main reason for this prediction has to do with its lack of mobile presence.
A tablet response is still not forthcoming and our early read on Windows Phone 7 has not yet changed our view that Microsoft's share in mobile OS (operating system) will remain at only the single digit level, Friar wrote in a note. She rates Microsoft as 'neutral.'
The answer to Friar's concerns about Microsoft's lack of presence in the ever growing tablet space could come soon, according to a report from The New York Times. The report says Microsoft has plans on unveiling several tablets at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, including ones built by Dell and Samsung.
Microsoft declined to comment on the rumor and on its tablet strategy in general. Dell and Samsung did not respond to requests for comment.
Charles King, a technology analyst at Pund-IT, said even though the tablet industry is still taking shape, he also isn't sure that Microsoft has a dog in the hunt. Microsoft has said in the past that Microsoft Mobile isn't the right operating system for tablets, but if it wants to compete against the iPad, it might want to rethink its position, King said.
Yet, King sees more opportunities for the company in the tablet space than Friar. He says in terms of content creation, Apple's industry leading iPad isn't sufficient. This is a space, he says, where Microsoft could gain share.
I don't see the iPad supplementing the PC any time soon. That will require a much more robust microprocessors and applications than what you see today. That's Microsoft's sweet spot. I do expect the company to be competitive as it moves forward. The real test point will be if consumers or businesses are as responsive to what the company sees as the future of tablets, King said.
For the most part, 2010 was a forgettable year for Microsoft in terms of mobile devices. Last year at the CES, the company introduced a tablet-like product with Hewlett-Packard called the Slate. However, the product never went to market and HP ended up acquiring the Palm operating system months later, leaving the future of their collaborative tablet in doubt. Also, its Microsoft Kin phone was heavily promoted early last year, only to be pulled a few months later due to poor sales.
They need to offer more consistency, a greater sense of vision, a willingness to talk from point A to point B - if they don't do that, they'll look like an also-ran quickly, King said.