I think Microsoft will have a very hard time turning into a services and solutions company. They’ve spent decades now focusing on building and selling great products. The paradigm shift will certainly confuse their customers for the first little while, if not their employees.
But I see it everyday. Every time a customer comes in with a specific requirement that really only applies to their environment, the stronger I feel that selling software out of a box just won’t cut it any more, at least for complex software we tools builders end up making. With the ongoing costs of development and maintenance of that software, it makes more sense spreading out the revenue to match. And it places an even higher importance on the extensibility of that software, just as we see in Eclipse projects today.
So, we’ll see how this all pans out, but if Mr. Ballmer says its true, it must be true, 🙂