While Ballmer obviously never breathed "peak PC" in his memos last week, or even mentioned the decline in PC shipments in those missives or in a conference call with Wall Street, he seems to get the dilemma. Why else would he hammer home "family of devices" as the firm's new tune, if not to replace what's been lost as PC shipments slide?
But getting it doesn't mean doing it, Gillen cautioned. "If PC shipments continue to show softness, it's going to require some very fancy footwork," said Gillen. "This is going to be a tough shift for Microsoft to make, to ask them to now accept that the world is a very different place."
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about PCs in Computerworld's PCs Topic Center.