While the frustration on the part of these analysts was clear, the lack of a clearly-defined tablet strategy has a much broader impact than simply confusing outside observers.
"The cuts are the first step in the things that need to be done," said Milanesi. "But we need more clarity about what this means, how everything fits in [with Microsoft's emphasis on] productivity and the enterprise. Reading this today, if I'm a CIO, I'm not going to jump on [Microsoft's tablets] because I don't have a clear picture of the strategy."
The only clarity Microsoft's provided, Milanesi said, was that devices continue to play a role in Redmond, even as Nadella dumped former CEO Steve Ballmer's "devices and services" tag line for his own "mobile-first, cloud-first," as well as his newer "productivity and platforms."
"Will devices continue? Yes. Does it all have to come from Microsoft? Absolutely not," Milanesi said.
"It's a double-edged sword," asserted Miller, of Elop's statement that there would be "limited change" for the Surface. "On one hand, it means they're not backing down. But it also means that they're not going to double down."
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