Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer has painted a rosy picture of the firm's future in an annual letter to shareholders in which he hinted the firm would consider building its own smartphone in the future if necessary.
The letter, sent out on 9 October, outlines the firms position in the market at present, with Ballmer bullish on its latest financial performances and the impact Windows 8 will have on the market when it lands on 26 October.
"Windows 8 will come to market [...] with beautiful hardware that will light up with our consumer cloud services," he said in the letter.
"Windows 8 unites the light, thin and fun aspects of a tablet with the power of a PC. It's beautiful, it's functional, and it's perfect for both personal and professional use."
Ballmer also said the firm would continue to build its own hardware devices where it saw fit, as the company looks to ape Apple's model of development.
"There will be times when we build specific devices for specific purposes, as we have chosen to do with Xbox and the recently announced Microsoft Surface," he said.
Speculation the firm could develop its own smartphone has intensified since Microsoft unveiled its own-brand Surface tablet earlier this year, and Ballmer's comments do nothing to counter this rumour.
However, he did move to assuage any partner concerns by reiterating the importance of working with long-term partners to the firm's future plans.
"We will continue to work with a vast ecosystem of partners to deliver a broad spectrum of Windows PCs, tablets and phones," he said.
The importance of the business market to Microsoft was also underscored by Ballmer who touted the firm's array of various cloud-related services such as Azure, Dynamics and Office, as central to its future.
"Helping businesses move to the cloud is one of our largest opportunities. All the online services people use today - both from Microsoft and other companies - run on servers in datacentres around the globe," he said.
"The volume of internet services used will continue to grow as people connect to the Internet from more devices for more purposes - fueling incredible opportunity in our server business."
Ballmer's effusive tone is hardly surprising but he and the rest of Microsoft executive team will know 2012 is a major year in the company's history, with the market still unsure how Windows 8 will perform with firms and consumers.
However, Ballmer also missed out on his full bonus for the end of year performance due to some of the issues that hit the firm, chiefly the failure to provide the necessary browser ballot screen in an update to consumers.
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