FORTUNE -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer isn't done saying goodbye just yet. After a heartfelt speech to employees late last month, on Monday Ballmer published his final letter to shareholders, taking the opportunity to extoll the company's ongoing "transformation" into a devices and services provider and highlight its key milestones over the last year.
"We brought Windows 8 to the world; we brought consistent user experiences to PCs, tablets, phones and Xbox; and we made important advancements to Windows Server, Windows Azure, Microsoft Dynamics and Office 365," Ballmer wrote in the letter. "We are proud of what we accomplished this year and continue to be passionate about delivering better devices and services more quickly."
Ballmer admitted that Microsoft is still in the "early days" of any kind of turnaround, and while he won't be around to finish carrying out the strategy he laid out last year, he also said he believes the company's best days are still ahead. In late August the outgoing CEO announced he would step down sometime in the next 12 months. Microsoft's (MSFT) board of directors is still searching for a successor, but rumored candidates include Alan Mulally, the current CEO of Ford (F), and Nokia's (NOK) Stephen Elop (Microsoft recently announced it would buy the phonemaker's device business).
Ballmer has made a lot of changes at Microsoft over the last year, including a giant reorg. "... we are well underway in implementing the new organization structure announced in July," Ballmer said in the letter to shareholders. "The teams are working together in new and exciting ways. The key change we made is deceptively simple but profoundly powerful: Instead of organizing our teams around individual products, we've organized by function, including, for example, engineering, sales, marketing and finance. It ensures we have one strategy and work as one team with one set of shared goals."
Last month the CEO made another big move -- shelling out $7.2 billion for Nokia's devices and services business. "This is a signature event in our transformation and will bring together the best mobile device work of Microsoft and Nokia," Ballmer wrote. "It will accelerate our growth with Windows Phone while strengthening our overall device ecosystem and our opportunity."
But it's still not clear how Microsoft plans to integrate the struggling phonemaker -- and how it plans to drive demand for its mobile operating system and phones, even now that it will control the hardware too (Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) control about 86% of the smartphone market; Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system commands a meager 3.7%).
But Ballmer remained upbeat in his letter to shareholders, infusing it with some of his signature flair: "This is a unique letter for me -- the last shareholder letter I will write as the CEO of the company I love," wrote Ballmer. "We have always believed that technology will unleash human potential and that is why I have come to work every day with a heart full of passion for more than 30 years."
Concur Technologies CEO Steve Singh wants to help you populate your expense report as you take your trip.
FORTUNE -- It's hard to get excited about expense reports. But Steve Singh, CEO of travel and expense management software provider Concur Technologies, says the corporate travel experience is about to get much, much better. A big part of that improvement will come from tapping into some of the trends on the consumer MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Oct 3, 2013 11:22 AM ET
The company's latest file-syncing product is better, yes. Will it draw in streams of new customers? Not likely.
FORTUNE -- Does the world really need another file storage service? Probably not, but Salesforce.com (CRM) claims its new product, Salesforce Files, isn't just any ordinary "repository."
The San Francisco-based company announced an earlier version of the tool, a file-sharing service called Chatterbox, at last year's Dreamforce event (its annual customer lovefest, hosted by MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Sep 6, 2013 12:13 PM ET
The hot enterprise firm is only now putting its software online.
FORTUNE -- You might assume that a young, fast-growing enterprise software company like Tableau Software is all about the cloud -- a.k.a. selling and distributing applications over the web. But the Seattle-based company, which started out as a Stanford University research project in 2003, is only now launching a software-as-a-service version of its business intelligence tool, Tableau Server.
In May, Tableau MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Jul 18, 2013 7:01 AM ET
The growth in wearable computing could also be a new source of profits.
FORTUNE -- Intel was slow to enter the mobile market, but the chipmaker says it is now taking steps to speed up development of its Atom chip line for mobile devices. It's also rushing ahead to provide silicon (and services) to another potentially hot market: wearables, a new product category which includes connected glasses and watches.
The company's top MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Jul 1, 2013 10:04 AM ET
One year later, it looks that way.
FORTUNE -- It's been one year since Microsoft announced it was acquiring Yammer, a social networking tool for companies, for a whopping $1.2 billion. The plan? Use Yammer's software as a social layer across Microsoft's products and keep the smaller, San Francisco-based company as independent as possible. Twelve months in, Microsoft still has plenty of integration work ahead of it. But the Redmond-based tech giant MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Jun 25, 2013 9:59 AM ET
Can the Korean electronics giant pull a smartphone-like win in the home?
By Stephanie N. Mehta, deputy managing editor
FORTUNE -- Can Samsung Electronics conquer kitchen appliances in the same way it has conquered televisions and smartphones?
The Korean tech conglomerate, already the market leader in sales of TVs and mobile phones with advanced computing capabilities, says it also aims to be the world's No. 1 purveyor of home appliances by 2015. MOREJun 17, 2013 10:25 AM ET
The social network wants all its employees to learn how to use data.
FORTUNE -- You may have heard of Facebook's engineering bootcamp, a six-week onboarding program for new hires to learn the ins and outs of the company's code base and culture. But over the last few months, the social networking giant has quietly rolled out another program that's not just for engineers -- rather, it's focused on teaching big data MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Jun 13, 2013 7:18 AM ET
The hottest trend in enterprise technology is fueling the market.
FORTUNE --- If you hadn't heard of Tableau Software before its glamorous debut on the public market last Friday, you're not alone. The Seattle-based company makes visual analytics tools for technical and non-technical employees alike but is far from a household name. And yet, it raised around $254 million in its initial public offering and closed its first day of trading at MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - May 20, 2013 10:42 AM ET
Google's mobile operating system may be getting a boost from -- of all places -- Blackberry.
FORTUNE -- This week's Google I/O conference in San Francisco was disappointingly light on Android news. And it was especially light on new, enterprise-friendly features for Android devices. Instead, it showed improvements aimed at consumers and education institutions. But while Google may not seem focused on making its mobile operating system more attractive to IT departments, MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - May 17, 2013 9:23 AM ET
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