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Microsoft's New Year Predictions for Itself

Late last year, Microsoft told its shareholders that it is now a "devices and services company," and not just a software company. CEO Steve Ballmer delivered the message, but he also wrapped up the company's Annual Shareholders Meeting address with a few predictions. To hear Microsoft tell it, the five big trends to come will be natural user interfaces, machine learning and big data, unlocking application capabilities through the cloud, social networking, and the emergence of a single unified Windows platform across PC, mobile device, server and cloud.

Here are the areas where Microsoft will lead the industry, according to Ballmer's November 28 address:

"The first area is new form factors that have, increasingly, so to speak, 'natural' ways to use them -- touch, gestures, speech, pen, and handwriting.

"The second big area is making technology more intuitive and able to do what we mean and act on our behalf instead of at our command by using new technologies in the area of what we call machine learning and big data.

"Third is building and running cloud services in ways that unleash incredible new application opportunities for businesses and for individuals.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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