Microsoft signified its expansion beyond the flagship operating system, after making a subtle change to their 2019 Form 10-K report; in which a longstanding reference that described Windows 10 as “the cornerstone” of its ambition to make computing more personal, has been removed.
Windows 10 is the cornerstone of our ambition, providing a foundation for the secure, modern workplace, and designed to foster innovation through rich and consistent experiences across the range of existing devices and entirely new device categories
The report was made public on Thursday in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, and now includes language that more broadly describes the context of Windows:
We strive to make computing more personal by putting users at the core of the experience, enabling them to interact with technology in more intuitive, engaging, and dynamic ways. In support of this, we are bringing Office, Windows, and devices together for an enhanced and more cohesive customer experience.
Windows 10 continues to gain traction in the enterprise as the most secure and productive operating system. It empowers people with AI-first interfaces ranging from voice-activated commands through Cortana, inking, immersive 3D content storytelling, and mixed reality experiences. Windows also plays a critical role in fueling our cloud business and Microsoft 365 strategy, and it powers the growing range of devices on the “intelligent edge.” Our ambition for Windows 10 monetization opportunities includes gaming, services, subscriptions, and search advertising.
While Windows is used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, it’s no longer the company’s primary growth engine.
The annual filing includes a breakdown of Microsoft revenue by major product lines, which is different from the broader divisional results from the company’s quarterly earnings results.
Last year, there was a major reorganisation of Windows engineering teams, in order to put greater emphasis on cloud computing. Microsoft’s server and cloud services business grew by 24% to $32 billion, and for the first time, overtaking Office to become Microsoft’s largest product line by revenue.
Microsoft predicted that their Windows OS would be on 1 billion devices within a couple of years. The number turned out to be 800 million, and though revenue gain was only 4% in 2019, the business is still worth a generous $20.4 billion for the year.
Hopefully, despite the downgrade, Microsoft will still see fit to invest in the last major public-facing business.