I think part of Microsoft DNA is running after Apple in the consumer arena. After copying the window User Interface of the Mac computers 25 years ago, they are currently copying its value chain. I mean Apple integrated value chain. If you think of Microsoft as a software company, you are wrong. It is now a service and device company.
As Apple did they want to control every step of their value chain from content and services to devices.
They have services like skype, skydrive. They aggregate content and provide platforms both software and hardware. And since it is a device maker with Xbox, Surface PCs and tablets, and Mobiles with the recent Nokia acquisition.
What they still miss is some retail presence like apple stores. The danger here for Microsoft is to upset its long standing partnership with PC manufacturers. But can they fight back at Microsoft move in their backyard? The answer seems no. Linux isn’t an alternative in the mass market, neither is Chrome OS from Google or Android. Microsoft has been upset at their tablet attempts with Android. Now PC makers have a few years before Microsoft gets the lead in the PC consumer market. Some are trying to reinvent themselves like Dell who wants to focus on the business segment.
The missing part for Microsoft is Distribution and Retail. Will Microsoft open some flagship store or some corner within existing stores like Darty, Fnac, Saturn, Currys, or PC world ? I bet they will.
Vertical integration seems to be the unstoppable business model, every IT giant is running after including Google and Amazon. Until someone finds a smart and disruptive new business model.