For a while now, it’s the products by Google and Apple that are synonymous with the word ‘cool’ even though the PC remains the mainstay of computing in the modern workplace.

All that’s about to change as Ballmer is on the verge of launching a new strategy and that will, if it works, regain the esteem that Windows has lost somewhere along the way – by the launch of Windows 8 desktops, laptops, notebooks and the all-new Surface touch tablet on October 26, 2012.

In describing this new approach, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, explains, “In many ways this is a new era for Microsoft. We are enabling whole new experiences for work and play.”

If his strategy works, then the paradigm where people rely on their PCs to get their work, and use their iPhones, iPads, Kindle Fires and Android phones for fun – will all change in Microsoft’s favor.

Yet all that depends on the first step where millions of Microsoft users must make the transition from using a mouse and keyboard and touch-screen commands to a new interface that employs interactive tiles as opposed to icons and static lists.

And then there’s the long-awaited answer to Apple’s iPad in the form of the Surface tablet which is what Ballmer believes will keep the public’s attention and in turn, would create prosperity for thousands of Microsoft partners in the form of independent resellers, software developers and hardware makers, including computer chip makers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

There’s no doubt that Ballmer will create a legacy for himself if this strategy is successful but there’s no doubt that taking bold steps such as these entails great risk as well.

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